A Leavenworth County man awaits trial in the alleged killings of his two young sons last fall.
An affidavit charging Donald Jackson Jr. with capital murder confirmed his sons — 12-year-old Austin and 14-year-old Logan — were found shot on Oct. 24 at Jackson’s home at 14970 Hillside Road in rural Leavenworth. Jackson was 40 at the time of his arrest last fall.
Amber Alerts were issued in multiple states after family members found the boys dead. Their younger sisters, who were 7 and 3, were missing.
Hours later, Jackson was arrested in Oklahoma. The girls were in the car with him.
Donald Jackson Jr.’s father — Donald Jackson Sr. — has also been criminally charged in separate incidents. The elder Jackson was charged in February with child sex crimes. He recently died by suicide while out on bond.
Here’s what we know about the Jacksons and their criminal cases:
Leavenworth boys fatally shot
Amber Alerts were issued in multiple states after family members found the boys — 11-year-old Austin Jackson and 14-year-old Logan Jackson — dead at Jackson’s home at 14970 Hillside Road in rural Leavenworth. Their bodies were discovered after someone went looking for them when one of the boys didn’t show up for a soccer game.
The boys’ younger sisters, 7 and 3 at the time, were missing when their brothers were found dead. Investigators said they believed Jackson abducted them, though he has not been charged with such a crime.
Nearly six hours after the Amber Alerts went out on Oct. 24, a black 2008 Honda Accord that matched the description of Jackson’s car was seen in Beckham County, Oklahoma. As the sun set, officers pulled Jackson over near Erick, Oklahoma, about 500 miles southwest of Leavenworth.
“It was just the right place at the right time to be sitting there,” the officer who pulled Jackson over told KFOR-TV.
Jackson appeared shocked that he was stopped, the officer, Jonathan Burrow, told the television station. Burrow said he was just happy the girls were safe.
Donald Jackson Jr. was charged on Oct. 27 at the age of 40 with one count of capital murder in the deaths of his sons, Logan and Austin.
The affidavit charging Jackson shows one of the boys suffered one gunshot wound; the other was shot twice. Police recovered shell casings from the home.
The redacted, two-page affidavit authored by a Leavenworth County sheriff’s detective also showed a .40-caliber handgun was found in the driver’s side door of the car Jackson was in when he was pulled over.
If Jackson is convicted of capital murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors could also seek the death penalty. Kansas, however, has not executed an inmate since 1965, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Alternatively, if the case goes to trial, a jury could determine whether to convict Jackson of two counts of first-degree murder, Thompson said.
Before the alleged murders, Jackson and his wife had been in the middle of divorce proceedings.
He remains in the Leavenworth County Jail. His next court appearance is an evidentiary hearing set for August 19, 2021.
Austin and Logan
At their funeral, a pastor described Austin as a “walking turtle encyclopedia” and his brother, Logan, as having a smile “like a ray of sunshine.”
According to their obituaries, Logan was an eighth grader and Austin was a seventh grader at Lansing Middle School at the time of their deaths.
“Austin and Logan were suddenly and violently taken away from us,” Pastor William Mcevoy said Nov. 2 as he presided over the boys’ funeral at St. Francis de Sales church in Lansing. “We’re all shocked. We’re all dismayed.”
Austin, the youngest, was an athlete and “a feared scoring threat” who liked soccer best, Mcevoy said.
Off the field Austin loved animals and dreamed of becoming a National Park Service ranger, the pastor said. Austin cared for his dog Maggie and kept a slew of amphibians in his room.
He described Logan as extremely intelligent and opinionated, a great debater in the works. But he also had a heart for those he loved.
“Logan very much loved taking care of his sisters and he was especially caring and attentive to them when they were babies,” Mcevoy said.
The boys, who liked to play video games and ride four-wheelers, became closer over recent years, their pastor said. Logan, who was more reserved, looked out for Austin, who Mcevoy said never met a stranger.
“They were indeed, as the obituary put it, friends, partners and great adventurers, teammates and brothers, and they go to heaven together,” he said.
Donald Jackson Sr. charges and death
Donald Jackson Sr., of Easton, died by suicide on June 8, Leavenworth County officials confirmed. His death came as he awaited trial for alleged child sex crimes.
Months earlier, he was charged with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
In April, officials confirmed to The Star that Donald Jackson Sr. is the father of Donald Jackson Jr.
According to a criminal complaint filed on Feb. 23, Jackson allegedly touched a child inappropriately between July and August 2019, in Leavenworth County.
He posted bail after his bond was set at $100,000 this spring, though the state had requested his bond be set at $500,000. He bonded out on March 29.
Several months earlier, in June 2020, Jackson was arrested for the same charges in a separate incident between August 2018 and December 2019, according to an affidavit. He also posted bond at the time.
The victims in both cases were under the age of 14 at the time of the alleged crime, court records show. The Star does not typically identify the victims of sex crimes, particularly those who are juveniles.
In a motion for bond filed in June 2020, the elder Jackson’s attorney argued that he was a lifelong resident of Leavenworth County with no history or arrests or convictions.
The attorney said Jackson had been married for 41 years and for 22 years owned and operated a poll construction business until his retirement, court records show.