Man sentenced to 18 months in SU graffiti incident

Jerome Kevin Jackson was found guilty Friday of maliciously defacing property in connection with four incidents of racist and threatening graffiti posted on walls at Salisbury University.

Jerome Kevin Jackson.

Jackson, 54, of Princess Anne was sentenced to 18 months in the Wicomico County Detention Center by state District Court Judge Abigail H. Marsh, according to the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Jackson entered a guilty plea as part of an agreement with prosecutors as a way to close the case that has caused fear and division on the SU campus, said Assistant State’s Attorney Mike McDermott.

“Mr. Jackson wielded a very heavy hammer and that hammer was filled with racism, that hammer was filled with hate, and he used it to strike fear into the hearts of employees, staff members, faculty members, students and parents,” he said.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Jackson paid $494 restitution to SU to cover the costs associated with removing the graffiti from university property.

The plea also required him to admit responsibility for each of the racist and sometimes gender related discriminatory graffiti found on the campus on Oct. 8, Oct. 10, Oct. 22, Nov. 4 and Feb. 19.

The February incident – which declared it was “Hang a N— Month” — was in Henson Science Hall.

The incidents were Jackson’s attempt to “bring about a conversation” about racism, defense attorney Richard Brueckner said during Friday’s trial.

Jackson is married to a Salisbury University alumna who now works in the Admissions Office at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He has three sons and five grandchildren, Brueckner said.

Dr. Dane Foust, the university’s Vice President of Student Affairs, said it has been “a difficult and tragic time” for the campus community.

The incidents caused “significant harm” by creating fear that caused some students to leave and decreased the diverse enrollment by 30 percent, he said.

“On behalf of Salisbury University, I believe Mr. Jackson has a lot to atone for and should be held appropriately accountable for the devastating impact his actions have had on our institution,” Foust said.

The plea agreement was drafted in consultation with the Salisbury University Police Department and University officials. The written plea agreement was then signed and executed by Jackson and filed on June 3 in the District Court.

In February, the Salisbury University Police Department, working with the FBI, said it had identified a suspect in the case and turned over evidence to the State’s Attorney.

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