Home invasion trial begins Tuesday

By Terri Flagg - [email protected]


Jury selection is scheduled for Tuesday morning as the trial of a Winston-Salem man accused of invading the home of an elderly State Road couple begins in Surry County Superior Court.

The defendant, Habib Cooper Jah, 35, is charged with first degree burglary, kidnapping, second degree kidnapping and larceny of a firearm.

On Wednesday, Jah’s attorney Karen Adams filed a notice of intent to present an alibi defense.

According to indictments issued in October 2014, Jah allegedly broke into the home of Howard Bernard and Lou Jean Jackson on Prince Avenue in the State Road community shortly after midnight on May 4, 2014. The Jacksons were home at the time of the break in.

“(The victims) told officers that as they slept, two suspects kicked in their door and entered the residence,” Detective J.D. Briles of the Surry County Sheriff’s Office told The Mount Airy News in May 2014. “They bound the male victim and physically restrained the female victim.”

During the incident Bernard Jackson was seriously injured and a 38 caliber revolver belonging to him was stolen, according to the indictments.

Lou Jean Jackson was 76 when she died on July 16, 2014, according to an obituary published in The Mount Airy News. No cause of death was reported.

Jah also faces charges of first degree burglary and larceny after breaking and entering for a January 2014 incident involving the same couple and home.

According to the indictments for those charges, also returned in October 2014, Jah allegedly broke into the Jackson’s home during the nighttime hours and stole Bernard Jackson’s wallet containing $2,000.

Jah will not be tried for charges stemming from the January incident in the upcoming trial.

On Wednesday, Presiding Judge Richard Gottlieb granted a motion for joinder filed by the prosecution requesting that only the charges from the May incident be joined for trial.

A motion for joinder is standard when a defendant is to be tried for more than one charge during the same trial.

Mike Beal, a Surry County assistant district atttorney, stated that he hoped to avoid potential confusion of the jury by joining only the May charges.

The defense objected, arguing that charges from both incidents should be tried at the same time because both involve many of the same victims and witnesses and the charges in the January incident resulted from the investigation of the May incident were filed after the May charges.

Terri Flagg can be reached at 336-415-4734 or [email protected]


By Terri Flagg

[email protected]

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