Zaire Jackson breathed a sigh of relief Friday in a Mercer County Court after he was found not guilty on all three counts against him at his homicide trial. The charges were murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose on allegations he knowingly procuring a handgun without a permit.
After the first not guilty was uttered in the court room Jackson’s family reacted out loud despite the judge’s instruction to refrain from doing so. The victim’s family left the courtroom, too overcome to watch the remainder of the proceedings.
Jackson appeared relieved and hugged defense attorney Steven Lember before leaving the court room.
The jury reached its verdict after submitting two questions regarding possession of the weapon. Jurors wrestled with the concept of whether or not Jackson possessed the gun before he was arrested on April 9, 2012. The jury began deliberations on Tuesday.
Despite their struggle, the jury returned the not guilty verdict around 1 p.m. on Friday.
Jackson was accused in the broad daylight killing of 22-year-old Irvin “Swirv” Jackson, Monday, April 9, 2012, on Moses Alley near North Hermitage Avenue in Trenton. Zaire Jackson, who was not related to the victim, was 17 years old at the time of the murder.
The verdict followed a contentious two-week trial where Jackson’s attorney claimed the state’s case was full of holes.
Jackson’s attorney, Steven Lember, said that regardless of the outcome, he still feels for the victim’s family. He added that his client had already done four years in jail while awaiting for trial. He said that in any event this remains a tragedy for both families.
On the verdict, assistant prosecutor Skylar Weissman said, “the jury has spoken. We feel for the family.”
He added that despite the outcome, “a young man is dead.”