Suspect in mom’s death long known to Paso Robles police

Paso police say she told them her child was being killed and ‘I saw a murder’

nwilson@thetribunenews.com tstrickland@thetribunenews.comMay 1, 2012 

A Paso Robles woman charged with killing her mother had a rambling conversation with police about her child being killed and that she was going to “kill the (expletive) who was responsible.”

According to a police report, she said “her homey was with my child and there was a murder. I saw a murder.”

“I’ve been running for days trying to save my child,” 36-year-old Sunni Daun Jackson told police, who recorded the conversation. “Nobody will believe me.”

Paso Robles police officers contacted Jackson on April 20 after officers were dispatched to “a loud verbal argument between mother and daughter” about 6:15 a.m. on the 900 block of Olive Street, according to a police report.

Police officers recognized Jackson from past contacts they’d had with her — including responses for mental health issues. The Police Department isn’t commenting on her current mental health status.

Jackson has been charged with killing her mother, but her attorney, James MaGuire, has declared a doubt of Jackson’s competency, and criminal proceedings have been suspended.

On April 20, they believed her to be under the influence of a drug, citing muscle tremors in her eyelids as well as her hands.

Jackson was barefoot, and broken glass was on the ground of the patio where police spoke with her.

Her comments to police, in reference to her mother, also included the following: “OK if I’m gonna go down, she’s gonna go down for ruining a whole bunch of little babies. I don’t care about all that (expletive). I tried to save the babies. That’s why they’re after me.”

Police found the body of 61-year-old Earlene Louis Grove, Jackson’s mother, lying on a bed covered in blankets with both legs exposed from the knees down. She was not moving or breathing when officers discovered her.

Grove apparently died from multiple stab wounds to the upper torso and blunt force trauma to the head, according to preliminary autopsy results received by the Paso Robles Police Department.

A neighbor said he heard the sound of “blood-curdling screams and breaking glass,” and he called 911.

Jackson has a lengthy criminal history in San Luis Obispo County dating back to the 1990s that includes felony convictions for assault with a deadly weapon in 2006 and 2009. She also has convictions for misdemeanor crimes including receiving stolen property, brandishing a deadly weapon and battery.

Paso Robles police Lt. Ty Lewis has said that officers have had contact with Jackson starting in 1991, some of which, he said, concerned mental health issues and “bizarre activity.”

The day before the killing, police said Jackson pulled the hair of a 3-year-old girl playing in City Park downtown. Jackson told the people around her that the little girl was missing and that a few strands of hair would support DNA evidence, police said.

“An aunt of the little girl reported that Jackson was in the park making statements that her children had been kidnapped,” Lewis said.

Jackson, who didn’t know the 3-year-old, was run out of the park by a man who saw the incident, police said. Jackson fled just before officers arrived, according to police.

Officers interviewed the male witness and the girl’s aunt while other officers checked the area for Jackson, Lewis said. The aunt declined prosecution, “noting Jackson had obvious mental health issues and prosecution wasn’t the best option for corrective action,” Lewis said.

Officers say they documented the incident and shared it with other shifts in the event Jackson was located or contacted. The next morning, Jackson allegedly killed her mother.

Jackson is scheduled to appear in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on May 17. Court-appointed forensic psychiatrist Dr. David Fennell, who examined her, was submitted to the court on April 25.

On April 24, while waiting for a court hearing, Jackson became disruptive to the point where she had to be removed from a holding cell.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that Dr. David Fennell is a forensic psychiatrist, and that his report on his examination of Sunni Jackson was submitted to the court on April 25.

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