WASHINGTON - A D.C. Superior Court judge found Banita Jacks guilty yesterday of killing her four daughters in a case that shook the nation for its cruelty.
Judge Frederick Weisberg convicted Jacks on four counts of felony murder of the girls, whose decomposed bodies were found inside their home in January 2008. Weisberg also found Jacks guilty of first-degree premeditated murder in the deaths of the three youngest girls -Tatianna Jacks, 11, N’Kiah Fogle, 6, and Aja Fogle, 5 - but acquitted her of premeditated murder in the killing of Brittany Jacks, 16. The mother also was found guilty on lesser charges, including child cruelty. She probably will spend the rest of her life in prison.
Weisberg said the case was “a very lonely assignment and one of the most challenging and difficult’’ he has had during his 32 years on the bench.
Neither Jacks nor any family members showed any emotion as the verdicts were read. In fact, Weisberg was the only person in the courtroom to display emotion; he put his head in his hands when he was done.
Weisberg spent about two days deliberating. Testimony lasted eight days. Jacks had waived her right to a jury trial.
Peter Krauthamer, one of Jacks’s attorneys, said he planned to appeal. Jacks is to be sentenced Oct. 16.
On Jan. 9, 2008, federal marshals went to Jacks’s two-story home to serve an eviction notice. When they got inside, they found religious scribbling on the walls and the girls’ bodies in two upstairs bedrooms. Prosecutors said that the girls had been dead at least seven months.