By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
Richard Jackson Jr., the Van Buren Township man accused of murdering his wife in their home on Dec. 17, has been ordered to undergo a competency evaluation to see if he is capable to go to trial.
Jackson, 39, is charged with first-degree, premeditated murder that could bring him a sentence of life in prison if he is found guilty.
On Jan. 2, Judge David Parrott’s 34th District courtroom was packed with family and friends of the accused as they waited for the preliminary exam to begin. The exam would determine if there was enough evidence to bind him over to circuit court for trial.
After several hours, Jackson was brought into the courtroom after being transported from the old Wayne County Jail on Beaubien Street in Detroit where he is being held on a suicide watch. He was wearing unmarked, light-blue jail scrubs.
Mark Procida, Jackson’s court-appointed attorney, said after speaking with his client and the family he felt it was appropriate to refer Jackson to the forensic center.
Judge Parrott ordered the preliminary exam be postponed until the result of the competency evaluation is available and that Jackson continue to be held without bond. No date was set.
Procida also asked for a motion to remove Jackson’s original retained attorney, Daniel Reid.
On Dec. 17, VBT police responded to concerned calls from Jackson’s friends and relatives saying Jackson was suicidal. Upon arrival at his Greenwood Court home they were unable to get anyone to answer the door. Lt. Charles Bazzy established telephone contact with a male at the residence and persuaded him to open the door.
Police said they noticed Jackson had some blood on him and was dressed inappropriately. They secured Jackson and entered the home to perform a welfare check on the other residents and found the body of Jackson’s wife Travisteene on the floor covered with a blanket.
The couple has two children who were not at home at the time.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled Travisteene’s death a homicide from a stab wound to the right leg.
Police said Jackson had suicidal tendencies and had told police he had a couple of failed suicide attempts. Lt. Ken Floro said suicide certainly was in Jackson’s initial thought process.
Also on Jan. 2 in Judge Parrott’s courtroom, Michael Trusel, 57, of Van Buren Township waived his right to a preliminary exam on a charge of domestic violence and requested a jury trial.
Trusel’s attorney Richard Mason said there had been no progress in negotiations with Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Carrie Butorac for a plea deal.
After a conference was held in Judge Parrott’s chambers, dates were set for a Feb. 19 pretrial conference and a Feb. 21 jury trial. It was ordered that the complaining witness appear at both court dates.
Alaina Christine Fain
Also, on Jan. 2, Alaina Christine Fain, 27, was due to have her preliminary exam on charges of felony home invasion 3rd degree and assault and battery.
The incident was on Jan. 8, 2012. The warrant for her arrest was obtained by Belleville Police on March 20, 2012. Corporal Todd Schrencengost was the officer in charge.
Fain’s court-appointed attorney Procida asked that Fain’s preliminary exam be adjourned for two weeks because no discovery had been tendered by the prosecution. The exam was rescheduled by Judge Parrott for Jan. 22 at 34th District Court.
Belleville Police Chef Gene Taylor said Fain was accused of barging her way into the house of some ex-friends.
By Diane Madigan