Man accused of killing girlfriend, three children makes first court appearance
With 10 sheriff’s deputies guarding the courtroom, Travane Brandon Jackson faced a judge Saturday on charges he fatally stabbed his girlfriend and their three children.
Recorder’s Court Judge Robert Wadkins Sr. heard no testimony as the preliminary hearing was rescheduled for 9 a.m. Friday. He asked public defender Jose Guzman whether Jackson understood his rights and when he next would be in court.
Guzman said he spoke to Jackson on Friday, and Jackson understood.
Jackson, 27, did not address the court, and quickly was ushered back into the Muscogee County Jail, where he is being held without bond on four counts of murder involving family violence.
He is accused of killing 29-year-old Jerrica Spellman, 3-year-old King Jackson, 1-year-old Kensley Jackson and 1-month-old Kristen Jackson. They were found dead together Wednesday night in their apartment at Elizabeth Canty Homes, off Cusseta Road near 20th Avenue.
Police said Spellman’s family called at 8:53 p.m. to request a “welfare check” on the mother and children, whom Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan pronounced dead at 9:45 p.m.
Jackson was arrested later in east Columbus.
It was not his first arrest on a family violence charge involving Spellman.
Police Chief Ricky Boren said Thursday that Jackson and Spellman were involved in an “ongoing domestic violence situation,” having been together for years.
A friend and coworker said the two had been together at least three years. Spellman’s brother told the Ledger-Enquirer his sister was about to break up with Jackson, and move in with him and their mother.
Police records show Jackson was charged May 17, 2018, with simple battery involving family violence for an alleged assault on Spellman at Lot 41-B, 527 Farr Road, where Jackson was living.
According to court records, Spellman called police to report she and Jackson were having an argument that could turn violent. Responding officers noticed her nose looked bruised and her left cheek was bloody.
She was apprehensive about explaining her injuries, and claimed Jackson pushed her accidentally, and she fell and hit her face on a table, police said.
That case was still pending in Muscogee State Court.
Michelle Brown, a former coworker of Spellman’s, said she was like a little firecracker.”
“She loved life.,” Brown said.
Spellman was the “baby” of their group of coworkers at the Carousel Lounge in Columbus, where Spellman was a dancer: “We were like sisters,” Brown said.
“She worked to provide for her kids,” she added. “She was good at what she did and she made money to help raise her kids, and that’s what it was about.”
Spellman’s brother Jerry Spellman said he and his sister were like twins growing up: “We did everything together; we stuck close to each other for years and years.”
He said the two were raised in Jesup, Ga., before moving to Columbus in 2005.