Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 19, 2012

Tackett convicted in sex abuse case

GRAYSON — A Carter Circuit Court jury on Tuesday convicted a former Olive Hill resident of sexually abusing two children over a seven-year period and recommended he be sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crimes.

Jurors deliberated 61⁄2 hours before finding General Jackson “Jack” Tackett III, 43, guilty of five of the seven charges against him, including three of the most serious.

Tackett was convicted of three counts of first-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and a fourth count of sodomy.

Because the sodomy victim was younger than 12 at the time of the abuse, the charges were Class A felonies, each carrying a prison sentence of 20 years to life.

The jury recommended Tackett be sentenced to 30 years on each of the sodomy charges and five years on the sexual abuse charges, with the terms to run concurrently, for a total of 30 years.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Tackett will be eligible for parole after he has served 20 years. He will also receive credit for the 18 months he has already spent in custody.

Tackett — who had moved to Guatemala and was arrested in June of last year at a Kentucky State Police traffic stop near Catlettsburg shortly after his plane landed at Tri-State Airport — showed no emotion when Judge Rebecca Phillips read the verdict and sentence.

Phillips tentatively scheduled Tackett’s final sentencing for Feb. 18.

Tackett’s trial began last Wednesday. On Tuesday, the defense concluded its case without calling any witnesses.

The case against Tackett was based entirely on the word of his accusers. The charges against him involved abuse of a boy and a girl that occurred between 1997 and 2004, but wasn’t reported until last year.

The abuse came to light after the female victim, now 18, told her mother about it. The mother took her for counseling and the counselor contacted the KSP. The male victim, now 20, came forward during the course of the investigation to say he, too, had been abused.

During his closing remarks, defense attorney Adam Bliele of Cincinnati told jurors the alleged victims’ lack of emotion during their testimony indicated they weren’t being truthful.

“Before you take Jack’s life, you have to meet the test of beyond reasonable doubt,” Bleile said. “Look at the evidence, because there is doubt.  We’re asking for a not guilty verdict. Jack didn’t do this. Nothing adds up.”

Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Conn said fear kept the victims from reporting the abuse until years after it had occurred.

“There are things that happen in life that we just don’t want to remember,” he said. “This case boils down to one thing: Do you believe the witnesses or not? This is a case where Mr. Tackett basically killed their childhood and stole their innocence.”

The female who made the abuse allegations was the first to take the witness stand Thursday. She told the jury she met Tackett when she was 6. She alleged Tackett raped her in the kitchen of his home one night when she was visiting one of his children.

The male victim alleged Tackett began abusing him when he was 5. He told the jury the abuse started with inappropriate touching and escalated to rape and sodomy by the time the alleged victim was seven.

The male victim is related to Tackett, but the exact relationship isn’t being disclosed because it could serve to identify him. The Independent does not publish the names of alleged sex crime victims without their permission. The female victim was a friend of one of Tackett’s children.

CNHI News Writer MacKenzie Bates also contributed information to this story.

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