Expert: Alleged killer Zaire Jackson did not write ‘snitch letter’

Defendant Zaire Jackson listens to testimony at his murder trial in Mercer County Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (GREGG SLABODA — The Trentonian)

Defendant Zaire Jackson listens to testimony at his murder trial in Mercer County Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (GREGG SLABODA — The Trentonian)

A threatening “snitch letter” that a Mercer County Correction Center inmate received that was allegedly intended to intimidate him from testifying in Zaire Jackson’s murder trial was not handwritten by the defendant.

J. Wright Leonard, a high-profile board certified forensic document examiner, testified Wednesday at Jackson’s murder trial that a comparative analysis of the defendant’s handwriting versus the handwriting of the so-called “snitch letter” has led her to conclude that Jackson did not write the threatening note.

Prosecutors have alleged that Jackson, also known as “Philly” and “Cory,” wrote the letter or had an associate write it and send it to Casey Corker to scare him out of testifying against him.

“You a dead man walking,” reads a portion of the letter Corker received when he was incarcerated at the county lockup. “If you go to IA [internal affairs], I know.”

Although Leonard determined that someone other than Jackson wrote the letter, she conceded under cross-examination that she “cannot dispute” the possibility that someone can “dictate” a letter for someone else to handwrite.

Jackson, 22, is accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Irvin “Swirv” Jackson in broad daylight on Monday, April 9, 2012, which was the day after Easter Sunday. Zaire Jackson, who was not related to the victim, was 17 years old when the victim was gunned down in an alleyway off North Hermitage Avenue in Trenton.

Jackson’s aunt, Tanika Cromwell, testified under oath at Jackson’s murder trial on Wednesday and said her nephew and Irvin “Swirv” Jackson were “sociable” and well-acquainted with each other.

Zaire Jackson used to live with Cromwell at her former Rowan Towers residence at 620 West State Street in Trenton.

Cromwell said she knew Irvin Jackson and said Irvin Jackson and Zaire Jackson grew up together and often stayed at her house along with her biological children.

Cromwell said she witnessed Zaire Jackson get into a fight with an acquaintance named Kevin Robinson at a city park on Easter Sunday 2012. She said the fight lasted “a couple of seconds” and that she did not see her nephew in possession of a handgun during the physical altercation.

Robinson, Irvin “Swirv” Jackson, and another young man stayed overnight at Cromwell’s house on Easter Sunday 2012 and left during the early morning hours of Monday, April 9, 2012, she testified.

Meanwhile, Zaire “Cory” Jackson on that Easter Sunday night was staying at a house on Murray Street that was shot up.

If there was any beef, gripe or feud between Zaire Jackson and Irvin Jackson, Cromwell said she had no knowledge of any animosity between the two acquaintances.

Shortly after the victim was shot and killed execution style, the word on the street was that Zaire Jackson murdered Irvin Jackson. Cromwell said she had heard the talk of the streets but testified that she does not believe everything she hears on the streets.

With the Jackson murder trial winding down and Thursday expected to unleash inclement weather, the trial is expected to resume either on Friday or next Tuesday at Superior Court Judge Andrew Smithson’s courtroom.

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