Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018 10:50 am EDT
Cleveland Ramon Jackson’s execution was scheduled to occur at 10 am EDT, on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. His execution has been rescheduled to Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Thirty-seven-year-old Cleveland is convicted of the murder of three-year-old Jalya Grant and 17-year-old Leneshia Williams during a robbery on January 3, 2000, in Lima, Ohio. Cleveland has spent the last 13 years of his life on Ohio’s death row.
Cleveland Jackson had a difficult childhood with no positive male role models. Cleveland’s father was stabbed to death in front of him by his mother when he was a toddler. His mother had a drug problem and attempted suicide more than once, causing Cleveland to be removed from her and placed in a state home. While in a foster home, Cleveland was raped. While with his mother, she was abusive towards Cleveland. Cleveland also had a juvenile record.
On January 3, 2002, Cleveland Jackson and his half-brother, Jeronique Cunningham, decided to rob the apartment of Shane Liles. Jackson lured Shane out of the apartment to discuss a drug transaction in the staircase of the apartment complex. Cunningham stayed in the apartment, watching television with three teenagers, included Leneshia Williams.
Eventually, Cunningham stood up and ordered the three teenagers into the kitchen. When the teenagers did not immediately comply, Cunningham stuck one of the teenagers in the jaw with a gun he had on him. Jackson then pointed a gun at Shane and ordered him into the apartment. After Jackson robbed Shane and his apartment of money and drugs, he forced Shane back into the kitchen, where the three teenagers were located, along with four other individuals, including three-year-old Jayla Grant.
Jackson ordered Shane to give him more money. When Shane said that he had given Jackson all that he had, Jackson shot Shane in the back. Jackson and Cunningham then opened fire on everyone in the kitchen. They continued firing until they were out of ammunition. They then fled the scene.
Everyone in the kitchen was shot at least once. Leneshia Williams and Jayla Grant were killed. During his trial, Jackson denied shooting anyone, except Shane, who was shot when Jackson’s gun accidentally discharged. Jackson also testified that Cunningham’s gun malfunctions, causing him to grab Jackson’s gun and continue firing while Jackson fled the scene. Finally, Jackson testified that Cunningham was the mastermind behind the robbery. (At Cunningham’s trial, Cunningham claimed Jackson was the mastermind) Jackson and Cunningham were each separately sentenced to death.
Cleveland Jackson has had several previous execution dates, all of which have been postponed or rescheduled due to ongoing legal challenges to Ohio’s execution protocol. Legal challenges began following the January 2014, execution of Dennis McGuire, who was executed using a new two-drug execution process. Dennis’ execution took longer than expected, with debate over whether Dennis was fully unconscious for the execution. An investigation followed the execution, resulting in numerous legal challenges to the execution protocol, and in numerous scheduled executions, including Cleveland’s, being delayed.
The investigation has since been concluded, and executions resumed in Ohio on July 26, 2017, with the execution of Ronald Phillips. There were no reported complications during the execution. Following that execution, Ohio Governor John Kasich rescheduled multiple executions, including Cleveland’s, spacing them out several weeks apart to ensure that each execution is carried out “in a humane and professional manner.”
Please pray for peace and healing for the families of Jala Grant and Leneshia Williams Please pray for strength for the family of Cleveland. Please pray that Cleveland may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.