Greenbelt killer gets two more life sentences in Kay Lynn Jackson’s death

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comJanuary 18, 2014 

Patrick Jon Zacharias is brought into an Ada County courtroom in a wheelchair for his sentencing hearing Friday. Already in prison, Zacharias was sentenced to two terms of life in prison for the 1998 rape and murder of Kay Lynn Jackson.

KYLE GREEN/KGREEN@IDAHOSTATESMAN.COM

The family of Kay Lynn Jackson, who was raped and killed along the Boise Greenbelt in 1998, was silent during and after court Friday. But in a victim impact statement read by 4th District Judge Ronald Wilper, her family said: “The defendant will have to sit and think about what he has done for the rest of his life behind prison walls.”

Friday’s hearing was the conclusion to one of Boise’s most infamous cold cases, with Wilper giving Patrick Jon Zacharias two life sentences.

“Thanks goodness for the miracle of modern science, where DNA finally pointed the finger at you, Mr. Zacharias, for the horrible crime you committed,” Wilper said.

Jackson, 22, was stabbed to death under the Americana Boulevard bridge on April 5, 1998, as she walked to church on Palm Sunday morning.

For almost 15 years, Boise police detectives spent “thousands upon thousands of hours following up thousands of leads,” Wilper said.

When the Idaho State Police lab got a match on a DNA sample in 2012 from Jackson’s murder, Zacharias already was serving a life sentence without parole at the Idaho Correctional Center after being convicted of lewd conduct with a minor.

During the initial investigation into Jackson’s murder, investigators sent DNA from the suspected killer’s semen to law enforcement databases around the country. They got no results.

When Zacharias, 40, was processed into prison in 2007 in the lewd conduct case, officials collected a DNA sample and sent it to the state police.

Due to a backlog, it was five years before the ISP lab processed the sample.

A grand jury indicted Zacharias in April; he pleaded guilty to Jackson’s rape and murder in December.

As part of the plea agreement, the state agreed not to seek the death penalty and Zacharias agreed to serve two consecutive fixed life sentences without the possibility of parole and to waive all appeals.

Jackson’s parents and younger sister attended the sentencing but declined to make a statement before the judge or to speak to the media.

Ada County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Bandy told the judge that Zacharias is still an “extreme danger to society” and that anything less than life in prison “depreciates the significance of the crime.”

“This is clearly the act of a person with a depraved heart,” Bandy said.

When asked by the judge whether he wanted to make a statement, Zacharias replied, “I don’t feel any words I can say can redeem me, so I don’t have anything to say.”

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell

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