PERQUIMANS COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — The last of six brothers accused of sexually abusing a female family member has been found guilty of second-degree sexual abuse.
Jurors heard closing arguments in the case of 21-year-old Aaron Jackson Wednesday. Jackson is the only brother who did not take a plea deal.
After two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, jurors found Jackson guilty of three counts of second-degree sex offense. They found him not guilty on two additional counts of second-degree sex offense as well as an incest charge.
A judge recommended Jackson serve a minimum of 18 years and three months and a maximum of 37 years in prison. Jackson can reduce his time for time already served and good behavior, but will not serve any less than the minimum sentence. He will also have to be registered as a sex offender for 30 years.
Jackson will serve more time than anyone else in the family, including two older brothers, who are about 10 years older than him.
Jackson’s defense argued Wednesday that the victim gave inconsistent statements, and that her story changed as late as last week.
The prosecution on Wednesday called it “pretty convenient” that Aaron Jackson doesn’t remember his childhood. They said the victim’s statements were not inconsistent, but that they got more detailed over time.
At first, the victim asked the judge to let the defendant serve his sentences all at once, rather than consecutively. He grew up watching his brothers sexually abuse her, and didn’t have any better example to live by, she said.
After consulting with prosecuting attorneys, she told the judge instead that she did not want the burden of influencing the sentencing, and instead wanted him to use his discretion.
The judge ruled Jackson will serve his sentences consecutively. He told Jackson his offenses were “made egregious by allegations that it was [the victim’s] fault, which is absolutely is not.”
Perquimans County District Attorney Andrew Womble said he is “saddened the victim had to come back and relive the events,” but that he was ultimately satisfied with the verdict and sentencing.
None of the Jackson brothers present for the trial would comment, but a family friend blamed internet in the home for what happened to them.
“[It] brought brought pornography into their home, and exposed them all to pornography at a very young age,” said Lara Capparuccia, who sat with the brothers during the trial.
Before adjourning, the judge turned to the victim, who is now 18, and said:
“You have my greatest empathies. I hope that you can find a peace.”