The frail, quiet woman who appeared in a Las Vegas courtroom Thursday was a far cry from the raging killer police described in this week’s deadly home invasions.
Natasha Galenn Jackson faces eight felony charges — including murder, attempted murder, burglary, kidnapping and robbery — related to Tuesday’s random attacks that left Richard Ramos, 59, dead and a woman in critical condition. Police also shot and killed the man police called Jackson’s accomplice, 27-year-old Cody David Winters, during a standoff.
Jackson, 35, whose navy blue jail scrubs swallowed her 4-foot-9-inch, 100-pound frame, constantly teetered as she stood before Justice Court Judge Joseph Sciscento. While Public Defender Dan Silverstein argued to preserve all detectives’ notes from the investigation, Jackson dropped the paperwork she was clutching and fell back into a chair for a few moments before standing again.
Minutes later, Jackson was back in the chair, with her eyes closed and head tilted back.
“I’m fine,” she whispered to a court marshal who went to check on her.
Court records show Jackson has a criminal history that spans at least nine years and stretches from Las Vegas to New Hampshire. But nothing in her background approaches the violence inflicted Tuesday in a neighborhood near the intersection of Tropicana Avenue at Sandhill Road.
In Las Vegas, she was convicted on misdemeanor battery charges in 2005 and in 2006.
After 2006, Jackson, who also goes by the last name Hamer, bounced around the country.
Public records show that she spent time in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Florida, Alabama and California.
While living in Manchester, N.H., in September 2011, Jackson was arrested after police said she slashed the tires of five vehicles. That and another case opened two months later are closed now, according to the district attorney’s office there, so details were not immediately available Thursday.
According to news reports, Jackson’s next run-in with Manchester police came after she hit her sleeping boyfriend with a hammer.
Las Vegas police say Jackson used a different hand tool in the home invasions.
Police say Jackson and Winters’ string of crimes started about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, when a freeway service patrol worker approached the stolen car they were driving, which had broken down on the side of U.S. Highway 95 near Tropicana Avenue.
The couple robbed the worker and forced him to drive them to a nearby apartment complex, according to a police report. The worker missed the turn into the complex and instead ended up on Rollingwood Drive, where the pair took his phone and let him go unharmed, police said.
From there, police said, Jackson and Winters walked to Autumn Street in search of another car to steal. Their knocks on the door at the Ramos house started a morning of terror.
Jackson stabbed Ramos with a screwdriver while Winters shot him, according to police. Ramos’ wife, Julie, was also wounded.
Jackson and Winters ran from the Ramos home without the keys to the family’s car, and didn’t get far before police covered the neighborhood. The couple then broke into a nearby vacant house, police said. They started building a barricade from doors torn from their hinges.
Responding officers said they heard Jackson yelling for Winters to shoot the cops.
Then they tried to trick officers by pretending Jackson was a hostage that Winters released, police said, but officers arrested her as she tried to run away.
Winters then jumped a fence and broke into another home, this one on Almondwood Drive, waking the man and woman living there. Winters demanded their car keys, which the woman gave up.
But Winters still shot her in the stomach and dragged her outside as a hostage, the arrest report said.
When the wounded woman fell to the ground, Metro officers shot and killed Winters.
The woman, who has not been identified by police, is not expected to survive.
Judge Sciscento on Thursday set Jackson’s preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 13.
She is being held at Clark County Detention Center without bail.
Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at email@example.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.