Alyssa Jackson's father scoured Macon for suspect in drive-by

Telegraph staffJanuary 17, 2014 


Alyssa's Jackson's father, Sebastian Jackson, talks abut his 16-year-old daughter and shows a letter he said she just wrote to him before she was killed in a shooting in this file photo from November. INSET: Donatvius Mintz has been charged in the killing.


As any grieving father might, for weeks after his daughter was slain in a mid-November drive-by shooting, Sebastian Jackson searched for her killer.

He couldn’t sleep, so in the middle of the night in his white 1991 Mitsubishi pickup he scoured Macon’s roughest neighborhoods. He staked out motels. He dreamed of meeting the shooter.

“I wasn’t going to put my hands on him,” Jackson said. “If I found him I was going to lead the authorities to him.”

Jackson, 43, who says he has terminal colorectal cancer, never caught up with the teenage suspect he was pursuing.

But at a south Macon motel on Friday morning, the authorities did.

Dontavius “Man Man” Mintz, 16, was arrested by members the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force in a room at the Liberty Inn on Pio Nono Avenue.

Mintz was charged with murder in the Nov. 21 death of 16-year-old Alyssa Zari Jackson.

Alyssa, a Southwest High School student, apparently was caught in the crossfire of a gang-style shootout.

She was shot just after 8 p.m. and died moments later. She’d been visiting friends at a house on Cedar Avenue, a block west of Pio Nono.

As had long been thought, Alyssa wasn’t the intended target of the shooting, an arrest warrant states.

Mintz allegedly got out of a silver vehicle on Moseley Avenue, two blocks south of Mercer University Drive, and fired several shots at Damion “Petey” Clayton.

Clayton ran south toward a field along Cedar Avenue, according to the warrant.

A second shooter also was involved, but the shooter’s identity was unknown to police when the warrant was drafted in December.

In all, there were eight victims in the gunplay, though not all were wounded.

The gunfire was a result of an ongoing feud between boys who are members of the Crip street gang and boys “claiming Bloomfield,” who also had a Crip affiliation, the warrant states.

Mintz, who made his first appearance before a Bibb County Superior Court judge Friday afternoon, is also charged with participation in criminal street gang activity in connection with the shooting.

He additionally faces charges of armed robbery, false imprisonment and kidnapping in the Nov. 18 robbery of a man who was forced by two gunmen to drive from his home in north Bibb County’s Howard Oaks subdivision to an ATM and withdraw money.

Because of the murder, armed robbery and kidnapping charges, Mintz is being charged as an adult. He is being held at an area youth detention center. No bond has been set.

Wounded 13-year-old survived

When gunfire broke out the night Alyssa Jackson was slain, she was shot in the back while standing outside the Cedar Avenue home with several other people.

Police have said a boy, Charleston “Brother” Burnett III, 13, was grazed on the head by a bullet while riding in a truck on Moseley Avenue. Burnett survived.

Three days earlier, Mintz and another man allegedly pointed their guns through the window of a house in the Howard Oaks subdivision, located off Bass Road, and demanded that a 29-year-old man open the front door.

The intruders started to grab items in the house, waking the man’s father upstairs. He called down to his son and was forced to load a TV into the robbers’ car. Several items were taken.

The victim was dropped off on Pio Nono Circle after being forced to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Though the authorities didn’t make it widely known who they were hunting in the Cedar Avenue slaying, Sebastian Jackson knew Mintz was one of their targets.

He had seen that the teen was being sought for murder. For weeks, Mintz was listed on the Macon Regional CrimeStoppers website, though there was no mention of specific incidents.

Jackson said he saw Mintz’s picture when Mintz, in the wake of the slaying, “made the mistake” of trying to “friend” one of Jackson’s daughters on Facebook.

Jackson was raised in Unionville, the Macon neighborhood where Alyssa died. When her alleged killer went into hiding, people there told Jackson where he might be.

“I would go out and search every single night,” he said. “I wore my truck out.”

Though suffering the effects of cancer, with his mother worried sick, Jackson would leave home about 10 p.m. and, no matter the weather, cruise Macon’s seediest sides.

From Houston Avenue to the westside motels along Harrison Road, out near Interstate 475, he looked.

“That’s what I got to do,” he said, “because I’m daddy.”

Jackson lost 35 pounds. He came down with something akin to pneumonia. He took a week off and kept on.

He had a recurring dream.

In the dream, Alyssa’s killer would be drinking a sour-apple Slushie.

“I don’t know why,” Jackson said. “And I would walk up to him and he would look up from taking a sip. ... He would look up in my face and be frozen with grief. ... In my imagination I could make him feel what I felt when I saw my baby laying there lifeless.”

The dream always ended the same, with Jackson taking the killer by the hand, leading him into a closet and shutting him inside.

“On the closet door in green paint,” Jackson said, “was the word ‘Peace.’”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.

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