Minister John Warren is a member of Bible Based Fellowship Church in Tampa. He says he remembers ministering to 47-year-old Anthony Jackson at the Salvation Army in Downtown Tampa.
He says he is one of about six ministers from the church that regularly visit the homeless at the Salvation Army to hand out clothing and toiletries.
Minister Warren says he routinely explains that sin is sin whether it’s a lie or murder. “He heard a word from the Lord. That’s amazing. That’s God.”
Tampa Police say over the weekend Jackson called 911 to say he had something he wanted to get off his chest. They say he told them he’d murdered two people in Lakeland more than two decades ago.
Minister Warren says, “Imagine the turmoil that he’s been wrestling with for all those years not knowing what was on his heart…and that he heard a word from the Lord and he obeyed and he knew that God hadn’t forsaken him.”
Lakeland police say Jackson admitted to killing 62-year-old William Clark Ford, Jr., a World War II veteran. He was murdered in 1984. Detectives say Jackson explained that he shot Ford while trying to steal his wallet.
Darrell Conaster is Ford’s grandson. He became choked up when he said, “I will say that we’re happy. I’m sad that there was an extra victim or another victim, but prayers are what brought the closure, so I just want to give God the glory for his capture.”
Investigators say Jackson confessed to another killing in 1985. That victim was Ruby Rookard’s niece, 16-year-old Sharon Boyce, who was just a few months pregnant when she was brutally killed.
Jackson told police he was upset to learn she was carrying another man’s child.
Rookard says, “The way she died…he shot her in the head. He raped her.”
She adds that Sharon wasn’t just pregnant, she was also the mother of a young daughter. The 18-month-old was inside the apartment when her mother was murdered.
Rookard says the girl named Jessica was there alone with her mother’s body for a couple of days before they were both discovered. She says the girl walked through blood on the floor and laid on her mother’s body.
With tears rolling down her cheeks, Rookard said it’s a shame Jessica never had a chance to know her mother. “That’s the worse thing in the world. That bothers me that she didn’t grow up with her mother.”
Rookard says she takes comfort in seeing how much Jessica and her mother Sharon are alike. She says Sharon was a comedian and you couldn’t help but smile and laugh when you visited with her.
Anthony Jackson has been charged with both murders. Sharon’s step-father, David Boyce, says Jackson should also be charged in the death of Sharon’s unborn child.