‘Time and Hope’ The Allies of a Couple


September 16th, 2020

OMAHA – In 2016, Tracy and Earnest Jackson got married. Since then, every night Tracy sleeps in their home in Wahoo, Nebraska, and Earnest sleeps in a prison in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he is serving a sentence.

“Initially he was sentenced to life in prison without the opportunity for parole when he was 17-years-old, then in 2016, he got re-sentenced to the 60 to 80 years,” Tracy, says.

The Jacksons met in 2004 when Tracy worked in the prison system, but they only had a professional relationship.

Then they did not see each other for about 10 years, until Tracy saw him again on television, for his re-sentencing in 2016.

She reached out to him again, wrote him letters, and they fell in love with each other.

For Tracy, since they got married, they have been able to have a normal marriage, though with some limits but mostly happy, and it has only because of their dedication to each other.

“A lot of communicating and that is the whole thing, like being an innocent man he is being so hopeful, just been so positive and he is funny he laughs all the time there is not a single person in the sphere anywhere he is ever being that doesn’t like him,” Tracy, says.

One night in Aug. 1999, Larry Perry was fatally shot in north Omaha. Jackson and two others were accused of shooting Perry 19 times after an argument over tire rims.

The two others were acquitted of the crime, one of them, the shooter because he acted in self-defense and the Co-defendant because of wrongfully identification.

Earnest was the only one convicted, and his jurors found him not guilty of a weapon. He was not the one who shot but he was an accomplice

Even though the shooter testified at his trial that Earnest was not with him the night of the shooting, but instead, Earnest was playing video games at his aunt’s house with his cousin.

In 2016 Jackson was re-sentenced to 60 to 80 years because of the supreme court case Miller v. Alabama.

In Miller v. Alabama, the United States Supreme Court held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.

The “Free Ernest Jackson” movement is Tracy’s greatest hope for now. And she is confident that the pardon board can help free Earnest sooner.

Born and raised in Omaha Earnest, spent these years in prison mainly in the Lincoln and Tecumseh prison system. But Tracy remains optimistic about having her husband home.

“Hopefully is soon that he is home, just say as now if he was home today, he got rubbed 20

 years of his life basically because we cannot get those years back,” Tracy, says.

Tracy says that Earnest’s personality and patience helped him stay in prison all these years, and he has also always been an honest and loving person.

Also growing up in the penitentiary system, made him strong because he is always surrounded but good people and his family always stood by him.

Even in prison, he took his role as husband and father to his stepson Tyree who is 11. And he earned his GED, also once a free man he wants to be a welder.

At their wedding only four people were allowed, but for Tracy, it was just like any other wedding and she is looking forward to the day they can be together all the time.

“Like we always say, I just can’t wait to cuddle with and just like that friendship and that genuine love for somebody that you can’t find very often,” Tracy, says.

Tracy born and raised in Pawnee city, Nebraska used to work full time as massage therapist before COVID hit, now she is working in customer service and massage therapist part-time only.

For the Jacksons, their marriage has been bumpy, but Tracy knows their situation will be better soon, hoping that the “Free Earnest Jackson” movement helps him to get Earnest home the next year.

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