UPDATE: Jackson Found Guilty

UPDATED: 2/1/2012

James "Butch" Jackson has been found guilty on all three counts. The jury of the three day trial deliberated for three hours. Jackson was found guilty on Involuntary manslaughter, felony child endangerment, and misdemeanor child endangerment.

He is convicted after a fire in 2010 killed his two year old daughter. Prosecutors say Jackson was not watching the children the day of the fire saying if he had been, things would be different.

"He may have been able to stop the fire from ever taking place, he may have been able to prevent the children from even going into that building, or at the very least he could've gotten in there quickly and taken that child out before the flames and smoke killed her," explains assistant prosecutor Kevin Rings.

Judge Ed Lane merged the two felony charges for sentencing.

Jackson's Sentencing date is March 9, 2012.


The jury reaches a verdict in the Butch Jackson trial. WTAP is in the courtroom and will have the latest as soon as its read.

The case involves the fatal fire that killed a young Belpre girl. Her father is on trial for negligence. Jackson faces one misdemeanor count of child endangerment and two felony counts of child endangerment and one count of involuntary manslaughter.

The investigating Fire Marshall, Mike Stellfox says when talking to Jackson the day of the fire, Jackson said he was in the front bedroom when he heard people yelling fire. Witnesses say Jackson immediately ran trying to enter the back house for the kids. Prosecutors say Bianca and her brother, Josh, were commonly left unsupervised. They say Jackson admitted Josh also had a history of playing with fire.

The jury also heard from neighbors of Jackson saying the children were never without Jackson close by. The cause of the fire was not determined.


The Belpre father now faces the jury. Prosecutors say both parents are responsible for Bianca Jackson's death who was just two years old when she was found in the debris of her Belpre home.

James "Butch" Jackson faces involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment. Prosecutors say Jackson and Bianca's mother, Crystal Dillon continuously left the children unsupervised.

The fire chief and investigating officer both testified today and described to the jury the extent of the fire and what was found during the investigation.

The Trial is expected to last until Wednesday.



UPDATE: 10/22/2010 6:03 P.M.

More information is being released about Monday's fatal fire in Belpre.

A Division of State Fire Marshal spokesman said two-year-old Bianca Jackson's body was found in the Sixth Street house which had been vacant and was completely destroyed by the fire.

It connected to the Florence Street home by a porch where the family had apparently been living and that home has extensive damage.

Four people were living in the home at the time of the fire. Two adults, James Jackson and Chrystal Dillon, and two children.

Thursday the Division of State Fire Marshal announced the cause of the fire was from a child playing with an open flame device upstairs in the vacant Sixth Street home.

The Division of State Fire Marshal and Belpre Police are waiting on additional information from the coroner's office including toxicology results and there will likely be more interviews.



UPDATE: 10/21/2010 6:23 P.M.

Investigators have determined the cause of Monday's fatal fire in Belpre was the result of a child playing with an open flame device.

Two-year-old Bianca Jackson died in the fire. The fire originated on the northeast end of the upper floor of the home on 8 Sixth Street, according to the Division of State Fire Marshal.

The fire completely destroyed the Sixth Street home which James Jackson, Bianca's father, said was used for storage. The fire caused extensive damage to the Florence Street home which was attached by a porch.

The joint investigation is being conducted by the State Fire Marshal, the Belpre Police Department, Belpre Fire Department and the Washington County Coroner’s Office.

Thursday family, friends, and community members were gathering at the visitation for two year old, Bianca Jackson, who died in the fire.

The Washington County Coroner's office was reportedly awaiting preliminary autopsy results.

Family members are remembering the little girl.

Eldon Pierce, the father's son-in-law, said "She was just my little buddy."

"They (the family) need help. The people's giving donations and stuff and need manpower to help clean this stuff up if we can get it," he said.

Bianca's father, James Jackson, said he plans to rebuild the Florence Street home.

The family didnt have insurance and a fund has been set up to help them clean and rebuild. Family members said it's called the Bianca Jackson Fire Fund at any People's Bank location.

The visitation for Bianca Jackson is until 8 p.m. Thursday at Kimes Funeral Home and the funeral is Friday at 11 a.m. with a burial following at Sunset Memory Gardens.



UPDATE: 10/19 8:40PM

Members of the Jackson family have set up a fund at People's Bank to pay for costs.

If you'd like to help, you can go to any People's Bank location in the Mid-Ohio Valley and request to make a donation to The Jackson Family Benefit Fund.



Update: 10/19/10 @ 12:13 pm

Investigators are waiting on preliminary autopsy results of two-year-old Bianca Nadine Jackson. Investigators with the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office and Belpre firefighters had to use heavy equipment to remove debris following the collapse of much of the structure to recover Jackson's body.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office says Monday's fire involved two houses - one at 8 Sixth Street and the other at 603 Florence Street in Belpre. The houses were connected by a common porch.

The fire originated on the upper floor of the house on Sixth Street. The cause of the fire remains undetermined. Investigators are conducting additional interviews and will be reviewing information throughout the day.

No smoke alarms were found in the house.

The Belpre Fire Department is assisting the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office and the Belpre Police Department with the investigation.



Update: 10/19/10 @ 9:36 am

We now know the name of the child who died in the fire on Monday.

Fire officials say they recovered the body of Bianca Jackson after the fire broke out.

The cause is still unknown at this time.

WTAP will bring you the latest on this story as it becomes available to us.



Update: 10/18/2010 @ 8:31 pm

Belpre Fire officials confirm the body of the missing two-year-old child has been recovered at the scene of the house fire on Florence Street.



Updated 10/18/2010 @ 4:15 pm

Investigator from the State Fire Marshal's Office has just arrived at the site of the house fire on Florence Street in Belpre.



Updated 10/18/2010 @ 3:50 pm

A family of four occupied the house. Officials say children were in the house at the time of the fire and that a search for a missing two-year-old girl is underway.

The Ohio Fire Marshal's Office has an investigator en route to the fire scene in Belpre. At this point the fire is under control. The house is a total loss. At this point, it is unclear what started the fire.



Updated 10/18/2010 @ 3:26 pm

The Ohio Highway patrol says children that live on Florence St. will be dropped off at the Napoli's Pizza due to the street being closed due to the fire.



Updated 10/18/2010 @ 2:57 pm

The Ohio Highway Patrol is instructing people to avoid Main Street and Florence Street in Belpre as firefighters battle the house fire.



Fire crews are on the scene of a house fire just off of Main Street in Belpre.

The fire erupted around 2:30 pm at a house in the 600 block of Florence Street. Florence Street is between Main Street and the Ohio River.

As of 2:40 pm, firefighters said the house was "fully engulfed."

Black smoke from the fire could be seen at least five miles away.

WTAP has a crew on the scene. We'll pass along more information as we receive it. We'll also have a full report on WTAP at Five and WTAP News at Six.


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