Free Earnest Jackson Concert


Hannah Michelle Bussa

Throughout a night of performances, though Earnest Jackson was missing from the crowd, he was in the background all night. Photo courtesy of Hannah Michelle Bussa.

On Friday evening, a community gathered at the Free Earnest Jackson concert in Lincoln.

Earnest Jackson has been wrongfully imprisoned in the state of Nebraska for the past 21 years. He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and earned a degree from UNO while incarcerated. This concert was held to raise awareness for Jackson’s case.

Artists and comedians put on the show, and some were longtime friends of Jackson. A video about Jackson’s case was played right before the intermission.

“We are here to send a clear message to our justice system and our elected officials that it is time to send Earnest home,” event organizer Janell Folkerts said.

Earnest Jackson was sentenced to prison based on the testimony of just one eyewitness. That testimony did not match evidence from the autopsy of the victim in the case. The codefendant in the case confessed and was ultimately acquitted on the basis of self-defense.

However, Jackson has remained incarcerated. This injustice has made people get involved in trying to send Earnest home.

Tracy Jackson, Earnest Jackson’s wife, said, “My husband once told me, ‘It’s easy to be a soldier when there ain’t no war.’ War is when you defeat what was supposed to destroy you and instead you come out a better person because of it showing character, heart and love. That right there is Earnest Jackson, besides being an amazing husband, father, brother and son!”

Tracy Jackson wanted to make it clear that this benefit concert was to bring awareness to Earnest’s case. She said she wants to get more people in Nebraska involved in the movement to Send Earnest Home.

“We are humbled at the support we have gotten so far, but we need all of Nebraska to stand behind Earnest,” Tracy Jackson said. “Nebraskans say we are ‘Nebraska Strong,’ but how can we truly say that if we are okay with or we do nothing about an innocent man being in prison for over 21 years for a crime another man confessed to and was acquitted of? You are not Nebraska strong if you can turn a blind eye to this injustice that has haunted Earnest for all these years.”

Tracy Jackson also brought up the legislation moving through at the state level that could help Earnest Jackson get a retrial. This legislation is LB 28, which would provide for motions for new trail based on newly discovered evidence. Earnest Jackson has not gotten a retrial despite the new evidence in his case.

“If passed, [LB 28] would most likely give Earnest a retrial,” Tracy Jackson said.

Tracy Jackson encouraged people to visit the website for more information on Earnest’s case and to keep up to date on LB 28, which has been moved out of committee and moved to general file. The website has links to write Senators, the Pardon’s Board and the petition to sign.

“They say it takes a village and we need all of you, so please keep sharing Earnest’s case with your friends and family,” Tracy Jackson said. “The more people that know about this, the more that people will see how much of an injustice this situation is for our family as well as our community.”