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Posted on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

Man sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for groping West Willow girls

By John Counts


Daniel Bernard Jackson

The 26-year-old Ypsilanti Township man who pleaded guilty to nine sexual assault-related counts was sentenced Monday to between four years, two months and 15 years in prison for groping girls in the West Willow neighborhood.

“I was wrong. It was corrupt,” Daniel Bernard Jackson said about the sexual assaults when he appeared in the Washtenaw County Trial Court. “I’m going to get the help I need. I’ve given myself to God. I’m reading the Bible. I feel I do need a change.”

In August, Jackson pleaded guilty to nine of the 13 counts he faced after attacking three girls on May 9 in West Willow. Before he was captured, police and school officials were on high alert. Willow Run Community Schools took precautions to make sure children could safely get back and forth to school.

The other four charges were dismissed in a plea deal. Judge Melinda Morris sentenced Jackson per the guidelines of the plea agreement.

Before the sentence was passed, there was a heated debate between the prosecution and defense about how the sentencing report should be scored.

Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Blake Hatlem argued for a sentence on the higher end of the guidelines. He said during questioning, Jackson made remarks about how he was happy that he got Morris as a judge because she “cut him some slack” after a previous felony conviction. Hatlem also said Jackson made a comment about how all he did was sit around in prison and think of better ways to commit sexual assaults.

According to prison records, Jackson served sentences for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and resisting police in the past.

“He is a predator,” Hatlem said. “I don’t think he will ever be able to stop attacking women.”

Hatlem was unable to convince the judge, however, that what Jackson did legally defined him as a “sexual predator” while he was committing the assaults. If that legal definition was met, Jackson’s sentencing report could have been scored differently, which could have led to a longer sentence.

Stephen Adams, assistant public defender, said since Jackson didn’t follow the girls around for a sustained period of time before the attacks, he wasn’t legally a “predator” and it shouldn’t be scored as such on the sentencing report.

Morris agreed and followed the guidelines set when the plea agreement was accepted.

“These were very fast strikes,” Morris said.

The judge acknowledged the severity of the assaults, but said she was bound to follow the plea agreement.

“The girls involved are going to suffer a lot longer than you,” Morris told Jackson.

The judge sentenced him to four years, two months and 15 years for three counts of unlawful imprisonment, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in the commission of a felony, a count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a person under 13 and a count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault. On a count of interfering with the reporting of a crime, he was sentenced to between four years, two months and 10 years. He was sentenced to between 42 months and five years on a second count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, assault.

All sentences will run at the same time. previously reported a 17-year-old girl was approached by a man on a bike as she walked to her school bus stop around 7 a.m. May 9 near Chevrolet Street and Studebaker Avenue.

As police were investigating that report, an 11-year-old girl told police a man matching the same description groped her chest before fleeing. Police soon received yet another call about a man with the same description attempting to abduct a different 11-year-old girl near Nash Avenue and Dodge Court.

Jackson was taken into custody a day after the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office released a wanted poster featuring a picture taken by security cameras. A day after police questioned him, Jackson was placed under arrest and charged with the 13 counts.

A fourth incident was revealed in court when he entered his guilty pleas in August. In addition to the May incidents, Jackson also pleaded guilty to an April 16 assault on a woman at the Lakeshore Apartments in Ypsilanti Township.

Jackson said he “held her” and “touched her breasts.”

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

I don't think even Jesus wants this guy as a follower.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Does a perp really have to follow one particular individual for a sustained time in order to be termed a predator? Does a hunter in any Washtenaw County woods refuse to take a shot at a deer because he's been tracking a different animal for a sustained time? We are not protecting our young women if our courts are engaged in such naive, uniformed thinking. These children were targeted by a predator because they were female and he was going to get them before dinner time. How quickly he pounced on any particular individual is irrelevant to his decision to go a huntin' when he left his house that day. The amount of time it took to make his shot was predicted by the hunting grounds he chose, and he chose those grounds carefully, with extremely effective results. And this sentencing decision just announced to other predators that it's open season in the Willow area. Once again.

music to my ear

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

if you say you found GOD ("so soon") you better mean it . he is one you cannot fool,fool.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

Okay, who wants to make a bet that when he gets out he commits another crime?


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

He will. They always do. Bets are off.

music to my ear

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

duh I am not throwing my money away. the odds are he may, no bet I believe you are right on the money (just not mine)


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

4 years? Are you kidding me? With the state pushing prisoners out the door in the name of saving money, this guy will be out in 4 for sure, at which point he will be 29, with many years of sexual assault ahead of him. Whose wife or daughter will be this monster's victim in 2016? Shame on the prosecutor and shame on the judge. Perhaps he should parole to Morris' house.

tom swift jr.

Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

""I'm going to get the help I need. I've given myself to God. I'm reading the Bible. I feel I do need a change."" I don't believe this for a moment. This man is a predator.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

I could not agree more. I really hope he stays in for the maximum.


Tue, Sep 18, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

One thing about sentences has always puzzled me. When are multiple sentences for multiple crimes allowed to run concurrently, and when are they deemed to run consecutively? Is this at the discretion of the judge, fixed in law depending on the crime or some other factor? Does it vary from state to state?