Two area men face felony charges this week after allegedly forcing their way into a Madison County home, Jan. 21, armed with handguns and wearing ski masks. Police say one of the men fired a shot at the residence as they left. The two were later apprehended in St. Francois County.
Nathaniel Edward Benson, 20, of Doe Run, and Johnny Edward Jackson Jr., 18, of Farmington, have each been charged in Madison County with first-degree burglary, second-degree assault, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon. Jackson is also charged with attempted escape from confinement and third-degree assault after an alleged physical altercation with police at the Madison County Jail.
According to a probable cause statement from the Madison County Sheriff's Office, just after 7 p.m. on Jan. 21, a deputy was dispatched to a Madison County residence for a report of an altercation involving a firearm that had just been reported. The deputy was informed that two subjects with guns had allegedly entered a home and later fired a shot into the front door of the house before leaving the area.
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The deputy arrived and spoke with the homeowner, who said both men were tall, slender and wearing ski masks as they knocked on her front door. The woman said she opened the door, and both men pushed her out of the way and entered the home without her permission, according to the report. She reported one was brandishing what appeared to be a silver, semi-automatic pistol, and the other had what looked like a revolver.
Per the report, the woman told police a family member in the home came out of his bedroom into the living room area, and both intruders began yelling at him about owing some money. She reportedly recalled the masked men pointing their guns at her and her relative, yelling, "I'll shoot."
The woman said her family member was able to push the subjects outside and close the interior door. At about that time, the report alleges, a single gunshot was fired into the window portion of the door. The woman said the door glass shattered and hit her relative in the head, knocking him to the ground and causing some lacerations to the top of his head.
The deputy reported noticing the window to the front door was shattered from what appeared to be a small caliber gunshot. He said there was also a fragment from the bullet that was lying on the ground by the door, which was collected as evidence. A .9mm shell casing was reportedly found in the corner of the porch area near where the gun was allegedly fired, which was also secured as evidence.
The deputy talked to the injured man about what happened. The man reportedly said he owed some people money for drug-related activity, and they were trying to get him to pay the debt. The man declined medical attention and said he believed one of the subjects was Benson, as he recognized his voice and eyes through the ski mask, according to the report.
The man reportedly told police he was familiar with Benson from numerous previous encounters. The deputy showed a Department of Revenue photo of Benson to the two residents of the home, who said they were sure he was one of the intruders, according to police.
The report states the home has exterior surveillance cameras that captured video during the incident. The deputy watched the recordings and reported seeing what appeared to be a silver Ford Focus with a black front bumper stop on the side of the street in front of the house. The video reportedly showed two taller individuals exiting the vehicle and approaching the house. The deputy noted a momentary commotion could be heard on the camera's audio. He said he heard a single gunshot being fired in the footage and saw the two run from the residence and get back in the car. The vehicle was then seen on video speeding down the street, according to the report.
After leaving the home, the deputy radioed Madison County Dispatch to broadcast a stop-and-hold request for Benson. He also asked dispatch to contact the St. Francois County Sheriff's Department to see if they could check Benson's registered address for him or the Ford Focus.
A short time later, a St. Francois County deputy contacted Madison County authorities, saying that a silver Ford Focus with a black front bumper was at Benson's house. The deputy reported family members at the home said Benson had just left his car there and left with a couple of friends in a Cadillac. St. Francois County deputies were able to locate that vehicle at an address in St. Francois County.
The report states Benson was with one of his friends, Johnny Jackson. At the time, Jackson reportedly had a white ski mask on top of his head. Authorities also found a black Ruger .9mm pistol lying on a table in the residence, as well as a black ski mask lying in plain view on the couch.
Benson and Jackson were taken into custody by St. Francois County deputies, who later turned the pair over to deputies in Madison County. The two men were booked at the Madison County Jail, both with $100,000 cash-only bonds set in their cases.
At the jail, Jackson allegedly told police he and Benson went to the house trying to collect some money owed to Benson. He reportedly said they entered the residence with firearms, trying to scare the alleged victim into paying Benson. Jackson said he was uncomfortable with the situation because he does not like guns, so he tried to get Benson to leave the house. Jackson allegedly admitted to having the .9mm with him inside the home but said he handed it to Benson as they were leaving. The man told investigators that Benson then turned around and fired a single shot from the .9mm into the door of the residence once they were outside. Jackson said Benson had just handed him a gun and pressured him into participating in the situation, according to the report.
When Benson was interviewed by police, he also allegedly admitted they were at the house to get money owed to him. The man reportedly said he told Jackson they would just leave the residence when they could not get any money. Per the report, Benson admitted being inside the home with a revolver and said Jackson entered with the .9mm pistol. He told police Jackson was the one who fired a shot from the .9mm into the front door, according to the report.
The report notes that both Benson and Jackson told investigators that their friend "Levi" was driving the car during the alleged burglary and assault, but neither Benson nor Jackson would provide a last name. Both men reportedly said "Levi" did not get out of the car during the incident.
Jackson's other charges filed this week stem from an incident that allegedly happened at the Madison County Jail after the man was booked.
Charging documents in the case state a deputy was called to the jail at about 1 a.m., Monday, for complaints from dispatch staff about Jackson, yelling. The man was reportedly being held in a cell at the front of the facility, and the yelling was making it hard for staff to hear and perform dispatch duties.
The report states the responding deputy opened the cell door to speak with Jackson. The deputy reports Jackson was not making much sense during the conversation, randomly becoming angry and cursing at the deputy.
The deputy said Jackson managed to push his way past him and ran toward an exterior door before quickly running into the bathroom. While chasing the man, the deputy hit his legs on a pole in the middle of the booking area and briefly lost his balance. Jackson then opened the bathroom door and the deputy administered a burst of pepper spray to Jackson's face, according to the report.
Jackson reportedly ran out of the bathroom toward the deputy, but the deputy grabbed the man and attempted to take him to the ground. Jackson was able to pull away from the deputy and ran into the jail trustee room. The deputy managed to pull Jackson out of the trustee room and tried to place him in a restraint hold as the man allegedly continued to fight to get away.
The report states the deputy wrestled Jackson to the ground, but the man was able to roll over and got on top of the deputy briefly before the deputy regained control of him. The man allegedly continued to fight for several minutes before the deputy placed him in safety restraints.
Just before being restrained, the report states Jackson tried to put the deputy in a headlock-style restraint hold; however, the officer was able to break free of the hold and regain control of his arm.
Other officers arrived to assist, and they attempted to take Jackson to what is commonly referred to as the "hole." The report states he continued to fight and was trying to push his way out of the cell. An officer deployed a taser, striking Jackson, and the man was secured in the jail's restraint chair.
Madison County EMS later evaluated Jackson and told officers the man did not appear to have any injuries that would require medical attention.
The deputy reportedly experienced redness and swelling in both knees following the alleged altercation. He reported damage to his eyeglasses as well.
Authorities said a substantial portion of the reported incident was caught on the facility's surveillance camera in the booking area.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org