The question that lingers in the minds of Clifton Jackson III’s family and friends is “Why?”
Jackson has been described as a person who put others' needs before himself and sought to make his family’s life better. His murder on Dec. 10 has left a void and a community in mourning.
“As brother and sister you grow up you fussing and fighting, but as we got older, we got closer. He was loving and caring and did a lot for the community,” Clifton’s sister Tachera Richardson said “I am still in shock in the way that he was taken away from us. He just had a baby and he has a two-year-old. I know that we can deal with death and I know my family is strong but the way that he was taken away is horrible. He wasn’t sick. He didn’t have an accident.”
Richardson continued, stating that it has been a rough couple of weeks since Jackson’s death and communication with police has been muddled at times, which has been frustrating.
“It was just over so quickly that night,” Richardson remembered. “Right after they had taken my brother's body they were pretty much already done. I don’t know how an investigation goes, but with it being nighttime around his house there was no light.”
Richardson added that she thought more time could have been spent at Jackson’s home looking for evidence.
Waxahachie Police officers were dispatched at 4:53 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10 to the 100 block of Frierson Street after Jackson's girlfriend notified police following multiple failed attempts to reach him by phone. Officers found Jackson dead inside the home of an apparent gunshot wound.
“Detectives are still working very diligently on the Jackson murder case. We hope that someone out there can provide us the lead we need to solve this tragic murder. Oftentimes just one lead or a bit of new information breaks these cases wide open,” Waxahachie Police Lt. Todd Woodruff said. “We encourage anyone that has any information to come forward. This was not just a random shooting. The person that did this was someone that knew Mr. Jackson. In this particular case, there could be several motives.”
Woodruff stated that the suspect might be someone Jackson had a disagreement with over money or a relationship. He noted in a previous article that substances found at the scene have been sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety's Crime Lab to be tested.
A timeframe of when the murder took place has not been determined yet because there was no call reporting gunfire. Police believe that the crime did not take place on Dec. 9, but possibility around noon on Dec.10.
Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby stated the department needs the public’s help in providing critical information to solve this case.
“At the beginning of these types of cases, you don’t know how it is going to play out. We have gotten some information, but we feel like there is more information out there and someone has some information that would be very helpful to us. We are hoping that they give us a call or at least call crime stoppers,” Goolsby explained. “We are still chasing leads, but we are missing that critical piece that will identify a specific suspect that will give us enough to put a case together on. At this point, we are still looking at leads and following up. We got some good information in the beginning. We just need that information to keep coming in. We need your help.”
Jackson’s niece, Breterrian Jackson, said it has been a trying time for her family.
“Now that the funeral is over, and it has been two weeks, it is over for a lot of people. I am still hurt. My family is sad, but I am angry because it is not fair at all. He had kids and they grow up and learn how an amazing man he was. They don’t get to know him though,” Breterrian said. “I wish that literally could put them in a bubble where nothing would harm them. I wish I could heal their hearts but I can’t. It hurts. It hurts a lot. It is not like it is on TV where we found a fingerprint, and we are matching it to every database. It is not like that.”
Jackson’s mother, Corliss Jackson, shared that her faith in God has helped her to remain strong.
“I really think that they (the police) are trying hard to find out who did this. I really do. My daughter and granddaughter and people in the community, whenever they hear something they go straight to the police station,” Corliss stated. “That makes me feel really good, too, because I have different people coming to me saying 'I heard something from so and so and I am going straight to the police station.' The community has really been trying to solve this case, too.”
Corliss explained that the holidays have been especially tough for the family because Jackson’s absence has been felt in several different ways.
“For me, Christmas Eve was a bad night because I really hadn’t accepted the fate that my son is gone. I kept wanting to fix him a plate. I keep thinking that he is going to call me or there is going to be a knock at the door,” Corliss recalled. "It really hadn’t hit me that my son was gone. Even though I know he is, it hadn’t hit me. He didn’t go two days without calling.”
Corliss continued, stating that the support from the community has also kept her spirits up at times through kind words, cards, and text messages.
“The main thing that a lot of people, even his peers, have come to me and told me that, 'you raised a man.' That means a lot to me,” Corliss noted. “They were letting me know I raised a man, not a child but a man. He loved his family, God, and the church.”
Corliss stated that she understands that death is a part of life, but the way her son was taken is hard to come to terms with.
“That is what gets me because he had such a good heart and was so kind. I can’t even imagine anyone that would murder him. I would never have believed my son would have been murdered,” Corliss said. “A car accident, heart attack or natural causes it would not hurt me as much. But for my son to be murdered is the hardest part for me.”
Matlyn Frazier, Jackson’s girlfriend and mother to his children, shared that the words of encouragement Jackson gave her have kept her going during this time.
“There have been ups and downs. This morning was a bad one. I woke up this morning waiting on a phone call. All he wanted was the best for everyone,” Frazier said. “I can hear him saying you are going to get through this and you are going to be all right. I still believe in you. Things that he used to tell me have been helping me make it through the day. I am going to have my good days and I am going to have my bad days. I know that. So all I can do is try to push myself forward.”
Frazier described Jackson as a great father two his children and her daughter from a previous relationship.
“He was the best in the world. Not only for our kids but my four-year-old is not biologically his, but even before we got together she has always had a bond with him. He treated her no different,” Frazier recalled. “All kids loved him.”
Frazier noted that it has been hard not having the answers about Jackson’s murder. She added that, at times, communication has been difficult, but they continue to pass along information they receive to police.
“He is still in my thoughts. We still are thinking about him. I wish that whoever did this would come forward or if they know anything,” Frazier said. “That is terrible what happened to him because he loved everybody. He just wanted the best for everyone.”
Bryan Crenshaw has been Jackson’s friend since they were in elementary school. Crenshaw describes Jackson as a person that loved everyone and would seek to provide words of encouragement to others even when he was having a tough day.
“I can think about him and laugh just because of some of the things that he would say. I can just imagine some of the things that he would say. Then sometimes I get down about how his life was taken suddenly like that. Don’t know the reason why. Don’t know who did it. It kind of feels like a movie,” Crenshaw explained. “I just have a big question. I don’t understand. I really don’t. Why it did happen to him? You have people that come up with these different scenarios and stories, but you don’t know what is true until the detectives do their job and say what the situation really was.”
Crenshaw stated that he has passed along any information he's heard to police to be helpful in finding answers. He noted that waiting for the answers to come is tough.
“For the individual that is responsible, I would like to know why? What did he do that it caused you to take his life” Crenshaw asked, “For anybody who has information I wish that they would come forward to speak. If it was one of their family members or close friends, I know that they would want the same in return."
People who have information about Jackson’s murder can contact the Waxahachie Police Department at 469-309-4400. The department is located at 216 N. College St. in downtown Waxahachie. If people have information but would like to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers of Ellis County at 972-937-7297. Crime Stoppers pays cash for tips that help lead to an arrest.