HOUSTON – Closing arguments were delivered Tuesday in the trial of a man accused in the triple homicide of a pregnant woman, her boyfriend and their unborn child in 2010.
Cornelius Harper was charged with three counts of capital murder in the death of Leiah Jackson, her baby and her live-in boyfriend, Yancy Daniels. Harper's trial began May 15, 2014 in Fort Bend County. If convicted, Harper could receive the death penalty.
According to police, in September 2010, the 27-year-old woman was stabbed over 20 times with a butcher knife in her home on the 3300 block of Palm Desert Lane, allegedly by Harper. At the time of the stabbing, Jackson was 8 ½ months pregnant. She was airlifted to a nearby hospital, but neither she nor her baby survived the attack.
Jackson’s live-in boyfriend at the time, Daniels, 30, was found shot to death at around 9:55 a.m. the same morning that Jackson and her child were murdered, according to police. Daniels was found at 6363 West Airport Road by a woman leaving her apartment. She saw blood on the sidewalk and found Daniel’s body underneath a bush. It is believed by authorities that Daniels was killed just hours before Jackson and her child were stabbed.
According to police, Harper and Daniels were cousins who often spent time together. At the time of the murders, Jackson and Daniels were living in an apartment next door to Jackson’s mother.
A neighbor said that the murder was the second tragedy Jackson’s mother had faced witin an 18-month period. She lost her nephew in a fire about a year and a half before her daughter was murdered.
Family members said they were in total shock when they heard about the attack. Now, they want justice.
“She would’ve made a great mother,” said Sharon Jackson, the victim’s aunt. “We will never have the opportunity to share that type of experience with her.”
“God says you got to forgive, but I be damned if I ever forget,” said Tommy Jackson, the victim’s uncle.
As Jackson was dying, prosecutors say she was able to utter a few last words to her mother, identifying the man who attacked her.
“It’s been a nightmare that never ends. It's hard on both are families,” said Stella Jackson. “We just want justice. We'll never have closure because it is a hole in all our hearts. No matter how you look at it, no matter how many times you say it, there will never be closure.”