In early September 2013, Bridgette Moore Flowers posted a message to her sons on Facebook.
“I would like to wish my twins boy (sic) Jashon Jackson and Jamon Jackson a very Happy 13th Birthday,” the greeting began, “hope your day be special.”
About six months later, Bridgette Flowers, who managed a Pizza Hut in downtown Macon, was dead.
She was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Jasento Flowers. The deadly attack rattled Macon’s east side. Especially the Fort Hill neighborhood in the blocks surrounding historic Fort Hawkins where the shooting happened the night of Feb. 22, 2014.
Jasento Flowers, a notorious cocaine dealer who spent most of the 1990s in prison, had walked up to Bridgette Flowers days earlier at the Walmart on Gray Highway. Surveillance footage showed him punching her in the face. The blow knocked her cold.
A week later, after he got out of jail for slugging her, he saw Bridgette Flowers at the wheel of her Chrysler minivan, which was parked near the house where he was staying just north of Emery Highway.
BEHIND OUR REPORTING
Why we reported this story
From his nearly 30 years of covering crime in Macon, Telegraph reporter, Joe Kovac Jr. knows that often violent crimes, including murders, can be linked in one way or another, although the connections are sometimes difficult to make and challenging to untangle. Kovac and reporter Laura Corley wanted to help readers connect the dots as a way of better understanding what can be a frightening cycle of violence in Macon. This tightly-woven story starts in 2014 when the mother of twin sons was gunned down by the boys’ stepfather and it was still playing out in court this spring.
He walked up and, unprovoked, started shooting.
Jasento Flowers has since been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Though he was not the Jackson twins’ biological father, there was passing mention of him again this spring in a Macon courtroom.
One of the twins, Jamon, now 18, was in jail himself. He was seeking bond after his arrest last fall on a murder charge.
From what the authorities have said, a fight at Northeast High School in late October may have sparked a clash between rival gang members the night before Halloween. Shots were fired along a neighborhood street near Bowden Golf Course. A 16-year-old boy named Kendrick Darnell Davis was killed.
Jamon Jackson and four other youths were arrested in connection with the shooting.
The shooting appears to have been the beginning of a string of bloodshed that may have led to two more deaths in the following months, officials have said. Jamon Jackson’s mother had been killed less than five years earlier, and now he himself was facing a murder charge.
While the killing of Kendrick Davis — one of 41 in the county last year — was but one of the violent crimes here with connections, such links frequently go untold.
The connections can run deep.
‘A gang war’
In a windowless courtroom with sliding steel doors on the backside of the Bibb County jail, Jamon Jackson hoped a judge would grant him bond.
Jackson, a junior at Northeast High, had been locked up since Halloween.
On this April morning as Jackson stood before a judge, the judge wanted to know about Jackson’s home life, where Jackson might live if he were freed to await trial.
“My mom died when I was 14,” Jackson said.
Word also emerged that his stepfather, Jasento Flowers, was in prison. Then the prosecutor in the case, Jason Martin, an assistant district attorney, began laying out the intricacies of a deadly feud that began playing out in late October.
Martin spoke of a pair of slayings, the shooting death of Kendrick Davis and, two months later, a shooting that claimed the life of TyNesha Hammonds.
Hammonds, a 20-year-old mother of one, was shot dead at the wheel of a Nissan Altima as it headed up Bloomfield Road two days before Christmas. Riding in that car in the front passenger seat was Jackson’s twin brother, Jashon, who was not hurt.
Then in May, another teen, an 18-year-old who had been riding in the Nissan with Hammonds and Jashon Jackson, would be shot to death as he sat in a car in east Macon.
While direct links to each of the slayings have not been confirmed by investigators — there have been no arrests in Hammonds’ killing — from what Martin, the prosecutor, told the judge back in April as he argued against bond for Jamon Jackson, the first two deaths involved a gang grudge.
“Your honor,” Martin said, “there’s a gang war going on in Macon. A war. And that’s not my word. That’s the word that Kendrick Davis used to describe it right before Jamon Jackson and his co-defendants drove over to Lake Arrowhead and shot and killed Davis in a drive-by shooting.”
‘Both groups started shooting’
The convoluted web of connections the police began piecing together in the hours after Davis was killed almost requires a spreadsheet to follow.
At Jamon Jackson’s bond hearing, Martin did his best to unravel the coil of alleged connections.
Martin told the judge that Jamon Jackson was a Gangster Disciple and that Kendrick Davis affiliated with the Crips.
Martin said there had been a fight at Northeast High the day of the shooting.
In the weeks prior, Martin explained, a string of about four houses had been shot up. The houses, he said, were home to some involved in the running feud.
Martin said that on the night of Oct. 30, Kendrick Davis and an acquaintance named Eric Bowen, also affiliated with the Crips, began streaming footage on Facebook Live, bragging about shootings.
Bowen and Davis declared “war” during the broadcast when they notcied Jamon Jackson, an apparent rival, was watching, Martin said at the bond hearing.
Then, according to the prosecutor, Jamon Jackson responded by rounding up a group that included his 16-year-old cousin Troy Jackson, 19-year-old Damarkis Jamicheal Hammonds and Coravius Hassan Ates, 19 — all of whom have since been charged with murder — to ride over and confront Bowen and Davis. It was unclear whether Damarkis Hammonds was related to TyNesha Hammonds.
“Both groups,” Martin said, “started shooting.”
Davis was killed, and Bowen, 16, has also been charged with murder. As is common in shootings where both sides open fire, everyone shooting gets charged because it is possible that any of the shooters could have fired the fatal shot or shots.
“But that didn’t put an end to this war,” Martin told the judge.
Two nights before Christmas, Jashon Jackson, Jamon’s twin, was streaming live on Facebook from the Nissan Altima that TyNesha Hammonds was driving when she was shot and killed, apparently by someone in another car.
A sheriff’s report would later note that Jashon Jackson said “he was sitting in the front passenger seat. He stated his brother had just been arrested for a murder in east Macon and that he believed it was retaliation. He also stated that he should have been driving and that he should have been the one shot.”
Another teen riding in the car, Keshawn Jackson, whose relation if any to the Jackson twins is not clear, would be shot to death in a parked Toyota Corolla along Briarcliff Road in east Macon on May 6. An 18-year-old named Kyshaun R. Jones has been charged with murder in that slaying.
In the immediate wake of the Dec. 23 attack that claimed TyNesha Hammonds’ life, her mother’s house was “shot up,” Martin would tell the judge at Jamon Jackson’s bond hearing. As was the house where Kendrick Davis’ family lived.
“Homes on both sides of this continue to get shot up,” Martin said.
He then told the judge that if he set a bond for Jamon Jackson, “you would be releasing him right back into this ongoing gang turf war.
“And there’s really no reason to believe otherwise,” Martin said, adding that while in the county jail, Jamon Jackson had in February been charged with rigging his jail-cell door not to lock when it closes.
Those charges were pending, Martin said, adding that Jamon Jackson, if freed, would be “a danger to the community” and to witnesses in the case, and that there was “a high likelihood that he’s gonna re-offend.”
Judge David L. Mincey III denied bond, and Jamon Jackson was still in jail on August 19.
‘Code of the street’
Attempts by The Telegraph to reach family members and others close to the victims have proven unsuccessful. When two reporters knocked on the door at Kendrick Davis’ grandmother’s house in southwest Macon in mid-July, she broke down crying.
“I can’t talk about my grandson,” she said through sobs before closing her door.
Messages left for the mother of Keshawn “Ding” Jackson were not returned, and TyNesha Hammonds’ mother appears to have moved from where she lived when her daughter was killed.
So why won’t others connected to to the case, mostly victims, speak out?
“None of the young folks are probably gonna talk,” out of fear and self-preservation, said Eastside preacher Dominique Johnson.
Johnson, pastor of the interdenominational Kingdom Life church on Shurling Drive, says he has had some interaction with twins Jamon and Jashon Jackson in the past. The two were among the first young people to attend a mentoring class that Johnson led at a neighborhood school.
“They were always respectful to me,” Johnson said recently.
Bibb Sheriff Davis Davis says the string of slayings — at least the first two involving the deaths of Kendrick Davis and TyNesha Hammonds — seem to stem from grudges that erupted in gunplay.
“It just points to an attitude of impulsiveness and revenge,” the sheriff said. “One thing it shows is a lot of these killings and shootings are not just random acts. … It boils down to some personal slight, the code of the street.”
The sheriff said the tight-lipped “culture of the street” also may play a role in keeping suspects at large.
In the end, though, Davis suggests that such vengeful attacks are rooted in a “complex” swirl of despair.
“Sadly,” Davis said of violent outbursts in general,“we are faced with individuals with broken morals, who have no self-control, no restraint, and no hope. What they do have is anger, a gun and no apologies.”
In the coming months, The Telegraph will launch a reporting series that looks at solutions to youth violence that are being tried locally and elsewhere.