Accused Killer Admitted Making Up Story — (The Spokesman Review)

SSRI Ed note: Child prescribed Paxil may have died from overdose.

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The Spokesman Review

Sept 30, 2000

By Kevin Blocker, Staff Writer

Accused murderer Brad Jackson blamed a mystery man  named “Craig” for his daughter’s disappearance in a letter he sent to his parents from jail last year.

Then Jackson confessed to making up the story in another letter to his parents two months later, according to testimony Friday in Jackson’s murder trial.

Wilbur and Karen Jackson turned the letters over to authorities after receiving them.

Jackson, 34, is accused of killing Valiree, burying her, then exhuming her remains and placing them in a shallow grave in Stevens County last October.

Detectives found the grave by planting a tracking device on Jackson’s vehicle.  On Oct 18, he reported her missing from his parents’ Spokane Valley home, where he and Valiree lived.

Defense attorneys argue that Valiree died from an overdose of the prescription drug Paxil, an anti-depressant.   They said Jackson became irrational when she died, which led him to bury and then re-bury the girl.

Spokane County Sheriff’s detective Dave Madsen read both letters to the jury on Friday.  In the first letter, Jackson told his family thave a man he knew named “Craig” was behind Valiree’s abduction.   Jackson said he was in Stevens County to meet him to look over hinting sites when Craig told him Valiree was dead.

Jackson wrote that Craig told him to go to the area of Dishman Mica in the south Valley to find his daughter.  When Jackson arrived in the woods, a man’s voice from the trees instructed him where to go to find her, Madsen read from the letter.

Craig told Jackson not to say anything to his family because they were being watched and more harm would come to the family, Jackson wrote.

The letter concluded:  “Hope you all can read my writing.   At least it’s better than mom’s, ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee,” Madsen said.

In later testimony, a pediatrician who prescribed Paxil for Valiree said the chest pains and shortness of breath she sometimes experienced were not related to the drug.

Dr. Peter Holden’s testimony marked the second time in as many days that defence witnesses have helped erode the theory that Valiree died of a Paxil overdose.

Jackson’s best hope to exonerate himself may be when he takes the witness stand, which could happen as early as Monday morning.

Holden said Jackson called him in early October and told him Valiree was experiencing shortness of breath when she exerted herself.

Holden prescribed Paxil in July 1999 because Jackson and counselor Laurie Miller were concerned about Valiree’s ongoing bouts of depression.

The shortness of breath and the sharp pain she described to me is common in children who experience depression, Holden said.

Holden said Valiree was in “excellent condition.” He said he felt comfortable increasing her dosage of Paxil from 10 to 20 milligrams just weeks before Jackson reported her missing.

The Federal Drug Administration has not tested Paxil on children, but many pediatricians give it to kids.   Holden called it a safe drug and said he’s prescribed it for at least 50 kids in the past 5 years.

“I generally prefer not to use it, but the medication has been effective many times,” Holden said.

On Thursday, defense witness Dr Barry Logan said he didn’t think Valiree died of a drug overdose because he didn’t think there was enough Paxil in her system.

Prosecutors rested their case Friday and said the case has moved faster than anticipated.   Murphy said the trial could be concluded by early next week.