EVERETT — A Snohomish County man who at one time pointed a gun at his wife and sheriff’s deputies has turned his life around the past two years, prosecutors and a defense attorney said Thursday at a sentencing hearing.
Ferral “Walt” Jackson, 70, was sentenced to six months behind bars. Superior Court Judge George Appel also found he had already served that time.
In July 2018, a woman called 911 to report her husband was drunk and violent east of Silver Lake. He pointed a rifle at her while she was on the phone with a dispatcher. When law enforcement arrived he aimed at them, too. Deputies opened fire, shooting him in an arm and a leg.
Jackson pleaded guilty in December to second-degree assault and third-degree assault, court records show. He had no other criminal history.
“I understand that you, sir, have taken responsibility and shown genuine change,” Appel said Thursday.
In the past two years Jackson has gone through therapy and multiple treatment programs, and has become a member of a group for recovering alcoholics where he attends meetings nearly every day, his attorney Laura Shaver said.
“This seemed to me to be an event that was life changing, hopefully, for the defendant,” deputy prosecutor Julie Mohr said. “He has done many things to better his life since that time, and to become a better citizen than he was that evening, when he not only assaulted his wife, but law enforcement.”
Two Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies who Jackson aimed at that night also agreed the defendant should get a second chance, Mohr said.
A protection order was in place for 2½ years between Jackson and his wife. He violated the order once, a couple of weeks after the incident, his attorney said. That charge was later dismissed.
Jackson’s wife did not want the order lifted until recently, Shaver said.
“A lot of time what we see with (domestic violence) victims is they kind of recant, and that is kind of how this cycle continues,” Shaver said. “That is not what happened in this case. She was never recanting, she was always saying, ‘This is what happened to me,’ and also wanting her husband to take responsibility.”
They have both taken the event seriously, Shaver said. She also said Jackson may have put in more effort than any of her past clients.
In court Thursday, Jackson told the judge he kept his phone on 24 hours a day to take calls from people who needed help getting through the holidays.
Jackson’s wife wrote a letter to the court. Judge Appel read it quietly to himself.
“Well, I will say, sir, that I have read lots of victim statements at sentencings such as this,” Appel said. “I have never read one quite like your wife’s, though. And I can understand how it is the parties reached this disposition.”
While Jackson does not have to serve any more jail time, he does have to complete a year on probation, where he is not allowed to drink alcohol or use drugs. He also must undergo a domestic violence assessment and complete any recommended treatment.
Back on that night in July 2018, Jackson was drunk and throwing furniture, according to court papers.
He pointed a gun at his wife and said “go ahead, call 911, I’ll shoot a couple of cops, too.”
His wife fled the house.
Once sheriff’s deputies arrived, they saw Jackson walk out of his garage still holding the rifle. Deputies ordered him to drop it. Instead, he aimed it at them, court records say.
The deputies shot him, according to a report from the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team. That group is a county-wide task force that completes an investigation whenever an officer has used potentially deadly force.
“I think it goes without saying, you are very lucky to be alive,” Judge Appel said Thursday. “ … Somehow or another, though, you have been given a second chance. Perhaps you recognize that.”
If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, Domestic Violence Service of Snohomish County is there to help. Free and confidential services are available. Call 425-25-ABUSE (425-252-2873) or visit dvs-snoco.org.