Man to face first-degree murder charges in woman’s disappearance

 

Pahokee man indicted in two murders: missing woman and babysitter

Not long after leaving her violent boyfriend, Deborah Ann Jessie returned to Pahokee one Sunday morning to accompany her friend and children’s babysitter to church.

That same morning, Jammy Washington was looking for someone to use voodoo or black magic to compel Jessie to take him back, according to a probable-cause affidavit released Thursday. He even carried what he said was Jessie’s underwear and her comb with him.

Two to three hours later, Jessie disappeared and is presumed dead. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office believes she crossed paths with Washington that day, June 23, at the babysitter’s home. It said Thursday it will charge him with first-degree murder in her disappearance, as well as in the slaying of the sitter, Crystal Anderson.

Washington has been in custody at the Palm Beach County Jail since June 28 since his arrest on charges that he beat Jessie in January, a charge he has denied. He is expected to appear before a judge for the first time Friday morning.

Thursday’s announcement capped nearly six months of investigation into the disappearance of Jessie, 23, who was two days away from a judge ruling on whether to make permanent a restraining order she had imposed on Washington.

Washington had previously been arrested on domestic violence charges, and friends said he abused Jessie physically, psychologically, verbally and sexually, according to the affidavit.

Neither Jessie nor Anderson could have done anything more to protect themselves, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at Thursday’s news conference announcing the charges. A restraining order or injunction is only good if law enforcement can arrive in time to enforce it, he said.

“If you take their gun, they’ll get a knife. If you take their knife, they’ll get a rock and smash your skull,” he said, adding: “There are some people that need to go to jail and not be allowed out of jail.”

Each murder charge makes Washington eligible for the death penalty, State Attorney Dave Aronberg said at the news conference. A charge of armed burglary for breaking into Anderson’s house carries a possible life sentence.

A nine-member advisory committee will meet in a month to decide whether to pursue the death penalty. Enough circumstantial evidence exists for the charges, even without Jessie’s body, Aronberg said.

“Law enforcement will not give up on matters of public safety,” Aronberg said. “We look forward to bringing justice in this case.”

Jessie had moved away from Pahokee during the spring to an apartment in suburban Riviera Beach. She even transferred to a different Family Dollar store. On June 23, she drove the 47 miles back to Pahokee to the home of Anderson, 57, a beloved neighborhood figure affectionately called “Ms. Chris,” who would lend money, make food and babysit kids.

Using cellphone records, witness statements and DNA evidence, officials believe Washington broke into Anderson’s house while the women were there and killed them.

He left Anderson’s body at her Eisenhower Drive home, dumped Jessie’s body at an unknown site and then drove her car to Riviera Beach, which he abandoned at the Palm Beach Golf Center on Military Trail, said Sgt. Richard McAfee, the sheriff’s lead investigator on the case.

Washington told a witness someone dropped him off at Anderson’s house. Washington and Anderson argued until he shot her twice while in either her living room or hallway, according to the affidavit, citing forensic evidence.

He then took Jessie’s cellphone and shot her in the chest, consistent with blood discovered on a white braided belt that a Family Dollar store surveillance video showed her wearing that morning. Washington held Jessie in his arms while she died, according to the affidavit.

Anderson’s blood and gunshot residue was found on two pillow cases alongside her body. The pillows are believed to have been used to mitigate the gunshots’ noises, according to the affidavit.

Another witness who arrived at Anderson’s house around 11:30 a.m. to accompany the women to church knocked on her door. Text messages were sent from Jessie’s phone to try to get the witness to leave. The messages were sent to a number the witness hadn’t had for nearly two months, according to the affidavit.

Jessie’s body is believed to be near the Belle Glade sugar cane fields, McAfee said. Washington told a witness he dumped her body in a canal for the alligators, the affidavit said.

Comments

comments