Charges filed in 1998 rape, murder of Kay Lynn Jackson in Boise

Idaho StatesmanMay 1, 2013 

— Patrick Jon Zacharias has a long criminal background that includes convictions for lewd conduct with a child under 16, burglary and grand theft. He is currently imprisoned. Boise police said it was a DNA match that led them to Zacharias.

The 40-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder and rape charges in the death of Kay Lynn Jackson.

He was first imprisoned in 1998, then paroled about four months later. In August 2002, he was back behind bars, serving time for a grand theft conviction. By December 2005, he had finished all requirements of his convictions.

He was free less for than a year when he was arrested, and ultimately convicted, of lewd conduct with a child under 16. A girl younger than 11 told police that Zacharias, then 33, came into her home on S. Apple Street in Southeast Boise and tried to force himself on her. The girl ran to the home of a neighbor, who called authorities.

In February 2007, a judge sentenced him to life in prison. Zacharias was in the Idaho State Correctional Facility south of Boise and he was transferred to the Ada County jail on a warrant this week.

The unsolved murder contributed to years of uncertainty on the Greenbelt and Downtown Boise. Police followed more than 1,000 leads after Jackson's murder, the first of three women murdered on the Greenbelt in a three-year span. The case had gone cold.

"April 5, 1998, our lives were changed forever," Jackson's mother Evelyn Jackson said at Wednesday's press conference. Her father Terry and sister Jennifer Lay also attended. "We would like to thank the Boise Police Department for their continuous service these past 15 years to solve the case against our beloved Kay Lynn Jackson. Being a Christian, she attended church every Sunday. Her faith in God has help us going these past years. We want to thank our family, friends and community for their support over the years."

Zacharias was indicted Tuesday and will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Jackson was walking to church on Palm Sunday in April 1998 when she was raped and killed in a tunnel under the Americana Boulevard Bridge, just north of Kathryn Albertson Park.

Jackson, 22, had left her job at the Downtown Travelodge at 7 a.m.

Police said she was forced into the isolated tunnel on the southwest side of the bridge. Once inside the tunnel, she was attacked with a knife.

A man flyfishing upstream from the bridge saw a large pool of blood and a trail that led to Jackson’s body. She was found fully clothed in a navy blue cotton jacket and green stretch pants.

The killer left a 30-foot streak of blood after dragging the 95-pound woman through the tunnel to a rock on the bank of the river. Her cloth-covered Bible and a navy blue purse with money and personal items still inside were found next to her body.

Jackson, who had brown eyes and brown hair shaped in a bob cut, didn't own a car. Friends and co-workers say she walked everywhere.

For the four years before her death, she worked as a night auditor at Travelodge at 13th and Grove streets. Co-workers and friends from church described Jackson as a sweet, quiet, meek person.

Her ambition was to become a management trainee at the motel.

She was defined, friends said at the time, by her strong Christian beliefs. She lived with a roommate on West Franklin Street at the time of her death.

The first year after Jackson’s death, police followed more than 1,000 leads in vain.

At the time of the murder, a DNA code from the suspected killer's semen was sent to law enforcement databases around the country. Police also had a knife believed to be the murder weapon and released a sketch of a suspect, thought to be a homeless white man with shoulder-length hair and a full beard.

Jackson’s death was the first of three murders on the Boise Greenbelt that happened between 1998 and 2000.

Flight attendant Lynn Henneman and Boise State student Samantha Maher were both murdered on or near the Greenbelt in 2000. Both of the 2000 murders were solved.

The three murders took some lustre away from the city’s “crown jewel” for a time. But they also mobilized the community. Police and citizen patrols along the Greenbelt increased, including a group of uniformed citizens who volunteered to patrol the Greenbelt on golf carts.

A 2005 story in the Idaho Statesman reported that in the four years after the 2000 murders, there were no murders, no rapes, no assaults, no kidnapping, nor any other violent crimes reported on the Greenbelt.

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