Columbus Housing Authority investigates error in background check of quadruple homicide suspect

Updated: Jul. 24, 2019 at 11:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Wednesday marks one week since the horrifying quadruple homicide at Elizabeth Canty Apartments in Columbus, where 27-year-old Brandon Jackson is accused of stabbing his girlfriend Jerrica Spellman and their three children.

Now, the Columbus Housing Authority is investigating the background check done on Jackson after it came back stating he had no prior run-ins with the law.

At a press conference after the homicides, Columbus police said Jackson did have a criminal history. When the Housing Authority conducted its background check before moving to Elizabeth Canty Homes, it came back clear.

The Columbus Housing Authority is investigating a third-party vendor that conducts background checks on residents before they are allowed to move in.

Len Williams with the housing authority said Jackson’s criminal record came back clean, not knowing that he in fact did have charges against him.

“We are following up to see if the company that provides the report can tell us a reason why that did not show up,”said Williams.

Columbus police said Jackson was arrested for possession and distribution of a controlled substance in 2013, a probation violation in 2016, and simple battery following a domestic incident with Spellman in 2018.

Williams said these background checks for the housing authority are crucial.

“We take this seriously. We do criminal background checks and a lot of applicants do not get housed because of that,” said Williams.

Jackson and his three-year old son King were the only ones listed on the lease.

Williams said if Jackson’s real criminal history came back, he more than likely would have not qualified for public housing.

“We want to have the safest possible community for our residents and we certainly would not want people that were violent offenders and that sort of thing, extensive drug history and that sort of thing, at our property,”said Williams.

Williams said things like trafficking drugs, child sex predators, and domestic violence are red flags for them when they receive applicants.

“We look at every case individually. It might depend on what the crime was, it might be how long ago it was. There are certain things that prohibit us from leasing to someone," said Williams.

Jackson is expected to be in court Friday for his first hearing at 9 a.m.

The four victims will be laid to rest Saturday morning at Peaceful Holiness Church on Buena Vista Road. Visitation will be Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Lamb’s International Funeral Home.

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