Jackson guilty of assault, sentenced to 4 months
By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
HERTFORD — A judge sentenced Hertford Town Councilman Quentin Jackson to four months in jail on Wednesday after finding him guilty of assaulting a fellow councilor following a town meeting last October.
Jackson’s 120-day jail sentence is on hold, however, because he appealed District Court Judge Eula Reid’s decision to Superior Court.
Jackson, 33, was charged with assault on a government official because he hit fellow Town Councilor Sid Eley, 71, in the head with a closed fist following a Hertford Town Council meeting on Oct. 1. According to town officials, the two councilors engaged in a heated argument before Jackson hit Eley.
Jackson and Eley both testified Wednesday their argument began when Jackson asked Eley if it was true he didn’t plan to support the Democratic Party in the upcoming 2018 election because the party had supported both Jackson and fellow Councilor Frank Norman in the 2017 town election they both had won. Eley said he told Jackson that what he had heard was true.
Jackson testified he didn’t feel threatened by Eley until Eley slammed his iPad down on a desk and proceeded to get in Jackson’s face.
Several witnesses said both men were talking in loud voices.
Norman said he saw Jackson throw a punch over his left shoulder, knocking Eley’s glasses off. However, Norman said he didn’t see the actual blow to Eley’s head because he was facing Jackson.
“I never perceived Mr. Eley as a threat,” Norman also testified.
Jackson was defended at Wednesday’s trial by Wade Tyndall, a court-appointed attorney. Assistant District Attorney Holly Metzger prosecuted Jackson’s case for the state.
Tyndall asked Reid to throw out the case against Jackson, arguing that at the time Jackson hit Eley, the meeting was over and no government business was taking place.
Metzger argued that town councilors are town councilors no matter if they are attending a meeting or not.
Prosecution witnesses included Eley, Norman, Mayor Horace Reid, former Councilor Archie Aples, Town Manager Pamela Hurdle and town attorney John Leidy.
Jackson was the only witness who testified for the defense.
While cross-examining Eley, Tyndall asked why, on the complaint form he submitted to a magistrate about the assault, he had listed Jackson’s race with the single letter “N.”
Eley responded that he hadn’t meant it as a racial epithet. “It’s ‘negro’ like United Negro College Fund,” he said. “I did it out of respect.”
Neither Jackson nor Eley would comment following Reid’s ruling.
No date for a hearing for Jackson’s appeal has been set. The next administrative session of Superior Court in Perquimans is scheduled for February.
Jackson has other criminal charges pending in court. In February 2018 he was found guilty of resisting a public officer and sentenced by Judge Edgar L. Barnes to 10 days in jail. Jackson also appealed that ruling to Superior Court.
Jackson also faces a felony charge of perjury in Superior Court that was continued this week.
On Monday, both Jackson and his mother, Marion J. Leary, were arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor.