Police arrest four people for helping inmate carry out ‘hits’ from prison

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COLUMBIA, SC – In what sounds like a plot from a movie, a prison inmate had his henchmen carry out attacks on his enemies while he was serving his sentence.  The convict must have thought jail was the perfect alibi.

However, he did not count on the police being able to connect him to the crimes or identify his accomplices who were arrested in September.

The convict, Harvester Jackson, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for armed robbery and burglary, allegedly made arrangements with people on the outside to carry out attacks on different people. 

In one such incident, he allegedly arranged for people to shoot up his ex-girlfriend’s residence in Columbia in April.  The ex-girlfriend was not hit during the gunfire.

When police spoke to her, the ex-girlfriend informed police that she did not believe the shooting was the first one Jackson ordered.  She also claimed that he was somehow responsible for setting her vehicle on fire after it was shot several times in June of 2019.

Police arrested Jackson and charged with accessory to attempted murder, accessory to discharging a firearm into a dwelling, and accessory to arson for the attacks in July. They also announced that they made other arrests in the alleged attacks.

Authorities allege that Jackson had made contact with Chadrick Morgan asking him to carry out the attacks.  Police did not elaborate on how Jackson knew Morgan nor why he would ask him to commit a crime.  Morgan refused but allegedly put Jackson with Isaiah Smith.

South Carolina officials said Harvester Jackson ordered the shootings of homes and the torching of a car all while using a phone behind bars.

Jackson allegedly paid Smith $300 to shoot up his ex-girlfriend’s house.  Jackson also allegedly paid Smith’s sister, Jasmine Jackson, another $125 to drive Smith to and from the residence to commit the crime.  Both were arrested for their parts in the crime spree.

Police believe they know the identity of the person who responsible for shooting up the ex-girlfriend’s car and setting it on fire.  However, that person is deceased and was not named by police in their investigation.

Police allege that Jackson was helped by a prison guard with whom he was having a sexual relationship while incarcerated.  Police have charged the guard, Dontell Gillard, for having an inappropriate relationship with Jackson. 

They also believe that Gillard had knowledge of the shooting Jackson allegedly had carried out in April.

Smith and Jackson were charged with attempted murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.  

Morgan was charged with accessory to attempted murder and accessory to discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling. 

Gillard was formally charged with misconduct in office and sexual misconduct with an inmate.

This is not the first time Jackson has been accused of having attacks done on his behalf while behind bars.  In August of 2018, police allege that another ex-girlfriend of Jackson’s had her vehicle shot at while parked in front of her residence. 

In the other shooting, reported in August of 2019, Jackson is alleged to have had someone fire into a residence on Humphrey Drive.  Police did not reveal a motive but said they discovered that Jackson had made prior threats to have the shooting done.

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Report: Harris County DA ordered release of man two days ago, who went on to murder a Houston police sergeant

October 20, 2020

 

HOUSTON, TX – On October 20th, a Houston Police Sergeant with 41 years on the job was killed in the line of duty when responding to a domestic disturbance call.

The slain officer was identified as Sgt. Harold Preston, which he was reportedly due to retire later this very year.

The incident occurred during the morning hours of October 20th, when police were called to respond to an apartment located within the 2600 block of Holly Hall Street in Houston.

HPD Chief Art Acevedo said that the call was related to a report of domestic violence, which more specifically involved a woman trying to retrieve her belongings from the apartment where her husband, 51-year-old Elmer Manzano, had locked her out of.

When officers arrived on the scene, they spoke with the woman who was locked out of the apartment for approximately one hour before Manzano’s 14-year-old son, who was with the woman in the parking lot, managed to get the apartment door unlocked.

The teen boy saw that Manzano had a gun and went to alert officers – which then police say Manzano started firing his weapon from inside the apartment. The suspect’s son wound up getting shot in the arm, along with Sgt. Preston and Officer Courtney Waller both being shot in the process.

Officer Waller was shot in the arm and is expected to survive, but there’s no word yet on the teen’s specific condition.

However, Sgt. Preston was shot in the head and the shoulder and did not survive the ordeal.

Manzano proceeded to barricade himself inside of the apartment for roughly an hour after allegedly shooting his son and the officers, but eventually surrendered once SWAT was fully surrounded the building at approximately 10:26 a.m. that morning.

Chief Acevedo referred to the fallen officer as a hero when remarking on his decades of service to the HPD:

“I’m not calling him a hero because of the way he died today, but he is a hero. Because as good as he was as a cop, he was a better human being.”

Houston Police actually had an interaction with the suspect just days before the fatal shooting on October 20th.

Police records indicate that authorities were contacted by Manzano’s wife on October 17th and October 18th related to domestic complaints/disturbances. It was on October 18th when Manzano and his wife were arguing over custody of the 14-year-old boy that officers responded in person over an alleged assault complaint.

When officers were interviewing Manzano over the alleged incident from the 18th, they’d found that Manzano had six bullets in his pocket – however, authorities did not locate any gun. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office was apparently willing to levy charges of terroristic threats if officers believed that some sort of assault occurred.

However, according to the police report on the matter, responding officers informed the DA’s office that they believed “no assault occurred,” which prosecutors returned a charge refusal slip that read “officer does not believe offense occurred”.

As to where exactly Manzano obtained the firearm allegedly used in the crime is unclear – or whether the firearm was even legal for him to possess at the time for that matter.

Records indicate the suspect does have some prior arrests and previous convictions but has avoided the criminal justice system for roughly 16 years up until now.

Back in October of 1994, Manzano was arrested for unlawfully carrying a firearm in Dallas County, but that charge was eventually dropped after a years’ worth of adjudication.

In August of 2000, Manzano was arrested for a simple assault and took a plea deal for one year of probation. He later wound up having that probation revoked and he spent 6 months in jail.

That probation revocation seems to be linked for a second assault that happened in December of 2000, which when pleading out on that charge Manzano took another years’ worth of probation.

He apparently had that probation revoked and spent six months in jail.

In May of 2001, Manzano was arrested for felony assault causing bodily injury to a family member, but after two years that charge was also dropped by Dallas County.

By December of 2002, Manzano had wound up pleading guilty to evading arrest by way of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

Come 2004, he had what would be his final brush with the courts prior to October of 2020 when a judge had issued a protective order against Manzano.

This is still a developing investigation.

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