1998 Greenbelt murder suspect had violent past

Even before he was linked to the death of Kay Lynn Jackson, a judge decided Patrick Zacharias was too dangerous to be in society.

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comMay 5, 2013 

  • DNA LINKS SUSPECT TO 1998 MURDER, POLICE SAY

    Boise police say Patrick Jon Zacharias, 40, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and rape in the April 1998 slaying of Kay Lynn Jackson, whose body was found in a bridge tunnel along the Boise River and the city's popular Greenbelt trail.

    Jackson, 22, had left her job at a Downtown Boise motel and was walking to church on Palm Sunday before she was forced under the bridge and attacked with a knife.

    The unsolved murder contributed to years of uncertainty about public safety along the Greenbelt and around Downtown as Boise detectives followed more than 1,000 leads after her death. Jackson was the first of three woman killed on the Greenbelt in a three-year period.

    A DNA sample was collected from the suspected killer's semen. Police say it matched a sample taken from Zacharias in 2007.

    Police also had a knife believed to be the murder weapon and released a sketch of a suspect.

    "April 5, 1998, our lives were changed forever," Jackson's mother Evelyn Jackson said at a news conference Wednesday. "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."

    Zacharias is serving a life sentence in the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise.

  • ABOUT CYNTHIA SEWELL

    Cynthia, an Idaho Statesman reporter since 2005, was named Idaho's reporter of the year in 2009 by the Idaho Press Club, largely for her watchdog reporting. She covers local government, growth and transportation in the Treasure Valley area. She's a graduate of Capital High School and the University of Oregon.

The man charged last week in the murder and rape of Kay Lynn Jackson was accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in 1987 - when he was 14. He pleaded guilty to molesting an 11-year-old in 2006.

Patrick Jon Zacharias - who will be arraigned May 17 in the Jackson case - has a lengthy juvenile and criminal record, according to court documents obtained by the Statesman. He was convicted five times for burglary, grand theft or petit theft as a juvenile. In 1997 and 1998, around the time Jackson was raped and murdered, Zacharias racked up four felony convictions for burglary and grand theft. He was on probation and in detention as a juvenile; he was in and out of rehabilitation programs and incurred numerous probation violations as an adult.

The court documents reveal why Judge Cheri C. Copsey decided to sentence Zacharias to life in prison for the 2006 molestation.

At the sentencing, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Armstrong called Zacharias "a contradiction" and argued that his criminal record justified a life sentence.

"He recognizes that he is a risk to the community and yet then he'll say, 'I don't think 25 to life (is) fair because I didn't kill anybody,'" she told the judge. "Yeah, because an 11-year-old stopped you. That's the only reason."

A QUICK-THINKING11-YEAR-OLD

Details of the Aug. 8, 2006, molestation are drawn from an account sketched by Copsey at Zacharias' sentencing.

The 11-year-old girl is alone in her second-floor Southeast Boise apartment while her mother is at work. She and her mother have a strict rule; the daughter is not to open the door when she is home alone.

About 6:30 p.m., someone knocks at the door. The girl asks who is there. No one answers, and she returns to the couch to watch TV. Another knock comes, and she asks who's there. After a third knock, the knocker identifies himself as Zacharias. The girl knows him; he is the father of her friend. He says he needs to talk to her about his daughter, so she opens the door.

He walks through the apartment, looking into each room. The girl asks him to leave. He asks for a hug. As she walks toward him, he grabs her, kisses her and begins to assault her. He knocks her to the floor and straddles her. With his hand over her mouth, she can't scream. She bangs her heel on the floor, hoping the downstairs neighbor will hear. Her lip gets cut.

She tries to kick him in the groin, then manages to get free and run into a bedroom. She grabs the phone to call 911. Zacharias knocks the phone from her hand and continues assaulting her. He pins her to a bed and takes her shorts off. He threatens to kill her if she doesn't cooperate.

ONE CHANCE

As he stands up to unbuckle his belt and remove his pants, the girl sees her chance and darts into the hallway.

"She knows this apartment that they were living in has a little trick with the door," Armstrong told the judge. "She knew she only had one chance to close that door a certain way so that he could not open it fast enough, and, 'I could run down those stairs to my friend's house.'"

The ploy works. The door sticks just long enough for the girl to get out of the apartment and race down the stairs, screaming hysterically. Once Zacharias gets the door open, he jumps off the second-floor landing in pursuit. The girl pounds on the door of a neighbor, who lets the girl inside and calls 911. The neighbor says the girl is wearing only a shirt and underwear. She is bleeding from her mouth. She has scratches on her chest and arms.

Zacharias tells a man in the parking lot that he's the girl's father. Then he gets into a car and leaves. The witness notes the license plate number.

The car is owned by Zacharias. Police find him about a week later.

GUILTY PLEA

Zacharias pleads guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor under 16, the charge in Idaho for sexual crimes not involving rape.

A presentence investigation and psycho-sexual exam conducted before sentencing "showed a highly explosive behavior pattern and lifestyle with an antisocial personality," Copsey noted.

At the sentencing hearing, the victim's mother asks Copsey "to please put him away so he won't be able to hurt any other children in the future."

"I believe that he would either have taken her or have killed her because he would not have left a witness if he had his choice," her mother said.

Judge Copsey sentences Zacharias, then 33, to life without parole.

"My primary concern has got to be the protection of society," she said. "Not just the protection of this (11-year-old) victim, but the protection of any potential victims. In this case you are a very high risk to our community."

She ordered Zacharias to provide a DNA sample.

The sample collected and sent to the Idaho State Police lab on Feb. 12, 2007, would, five years later, be processed - and, Boise police say, match semen collected from Kay Lynn Jackson's body.

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell

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