VENTURA (CBSLA) — The homeless man suspected of fatally stabbing a man who was sitting with his young daughter and wife on the Ventura boardwalk ranted about the FBI and eye cameras at a hearing Friday.
After the initial arraignment was delayed, Jamal Jackson appeared in court without an attorney and refused the public defender’s assistance. He said he had an attorney but couldn’t remember his first name, adding the lawyer chose to investigate the case rather than appear in court Friday.
Jackson, 49, then went on a rant about being in the FBI, saying that he had a camera implanted in his eye. At one point, the homeless man told the public defender to stop talking to him. He claimed couldn’t hear the attorney because of ringing in his ear as he poked his finger in it.
“Mr. Jackson lost his hearing, he claimed, and he said the hearing thing […] he did not want the public defender to speak for him. He did not want the public defender, he wanted his attorney,” said Ventura County Senior Deputy District Attorney Richard Simon. “And then he started rambling about cameras in his eyes and the FBI talking to him.”
Jackson is accused of killing Anthony Mele outside the Aloha Steakhouse near Ventura Promenade on the evening of April 18. The 35-year-old was dining with his wife and 5-year-old daughter, who was on his lap, when Jackson allegedly stabbed him in the neck with a knife.
Jackson has been charged with first-degree murder.
Simon was not buying Jackson’s “act,” telling reporters Friday, “I think he’s trying to play games with the system.”
Investigators are puzzled by the attack, which appears to have no clear motive.
“It just could’ve been anyone in the community,” said Simon. “No one expects to lose their lives the way this happened, so this is just — it’s evil.”
“If they don’t cooperate with the system, they feel like, ‘Well, I don’t want to represent myself, I don’t want an attorney appointed, and I don’t have an attorney,'” Simon hypothesized. “‘So, guess what, you can’t prosecute me. You have to let me go.’ So, I think that’s what he’s trying to do.”
Despite Jackson’s objections, the judge in the case entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf and agreed to Simon’s request to increase Jackson’s bail to $3 million from $1.5 million.
“I think like everybody in the community was in danger from this guy, and so my feeling was, if he gets out, he’s very likely to kill somebody else,” Simon said.
After the incident, it was discovered someone had reported Jackson to police hours before the stabbing. Witnesses said Jackson had been waving a knife and threatening people outside the restaurant earlier in the evening.
Police said that after surveilling Jackson via the pier security camera system for about 20 minutes, they deemed he was not a threat.
Mele’s family and the restaurant’s owner said the police had failed in their duties and could have done more to prevent the killing. The Ventura police chief has admitted officers should have responded to the earlier call.
The victim’s father told CBS2 News he was angry at everyone in government, from the city level to the state level, finding issue with how they handle the homeless problem.
Jackson is due back in court on May 10.