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Toledo man sentenced to 43 years in prison in 1998 case

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    Clifton Jackson

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    Judge Gene Zmuda is pictured in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

    THE BLADE
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A rape victim who had given up hope that her assailant would ever be caught claimed victory in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Monday.

“I look the monster in the eyes who invaded more than just my home – my mind, my heart, my life,” the now-47-year-old victim told Judge Gene Zmuda. “He terrorized my mind for 19 years.”

Former Toledoan Clifton Jackson, 49, was linked to the Jan. 16, 1998 attack by DNA. He was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury in August, 2015 and entered Alford pleas — not admitting guilt — June 23 to two counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary as well as firearm and repeat violent offender specifications.

His victim told the court that Jackson should never have the freedom to live outside of prison. It's unlikely he will.

Judge Zmuda sentenced Jackson to 43 years in prison to be served after he completes the 18-year sentence he currently is serving in Illinois for an unrelated aggravated kidnapping, attempted murder, and aggravated battery.

Defense attorney Pete Rost told the court Jackson has about nine years left to serve in Illinois and asked the court to consider Jackson's age and the time he already has spent behind bars — for other crimes.

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Judge Gene Zmuda is pictured in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

THE BLADE
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Judge Zmuda said he could not do that. He said he would sentence him as if he had been arrested on the night of the crime.

“This is one of the most horrific and violent scenarios that I've had occasion to have to handle as a judge in this court,” Judge Zmuda said. “...The fact that this happened as long ago as it did, I suspect you thought you got away with it.”

Michael Loisel, an assistant county prosecutor, showed the judge a photograph of the victim's three young daughters who were at home with her the night Jackson intruded on their lives.

“A mother and three daughters were sitting at home, getting ready for dinner when this defendant and an unnamed co-conspirator forced their way in and put a gun to a 9-year-old's head and wreaked havoc on a family for nothing more than looking for possibly drugs or another individual in the house,” he said.

The men stole jewelry and other items from the home but went further, he said, raping the children’s mother and hogtying a man who came to the door.

The victim said she believed Jackson meant to kill her.

“The idea of not being there with my children was terrifying,” she said. “He invaded my home, took the security that my children and I had and blew it to pieces.”

When given the opportunity to address the court, Jackson declined.

Toledo Police Det. Diana Trevino, a member of the Sexual Assault Task Force which investigated the cold case, said afterward that it was clear to her Jackson did not care how his actions impacted others.

“This woman's justice was 19 years in coming, but it came and thank goodness for DNA,” Detective Trevino said. “The guy is a sociopath. He showed no remorse. The judge just sentenced him to 43 years in prison, and he had no reaction.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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