Another attempt for a new trial stemming from a 1986 Viola murder has been turned down.
Janet Jackson, 58, has filed numerous motions and appeals seeking release. Her latest effort was deemed “frivolous and patently without merit” by Judge James Conway on Tuesday.
The former Rock Island woman originally was sentenced to life in prison for orchestrating the November 1986 fatal attack on Kim Wayne Jackson, 35, at a rural Viola farm house.
She was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery and solicitation to commit murder during a May 1987 jury trial. She won a brief reprieve in March 2002 when her life sentence was reduced to a term of 40 years by the 3rd District Appellate Court. But in October 2003, the appellate court reversed its decision and reinstated her original life sentence following a challenge from Mercer County State’s Attorney Greg McHugh.
Jackson also has petitioned for executive clemency several times but has been turned back in each attempt.
McHugh remains opposed to an early release for Jackson.
“The police and prosecution spent hundreds of hours to convict the guilty and then keeping them convicted,” he said. “We will continue to strive for justice for all victims.”
Investigators testified in her 1987 trial that she induced Tony Royark, now 53, and Michael Miller to kill Kim Wayne Jackson. She lured him to the Mercer County farmhouse they owned by claiming she was ready to reconcile their failing marriage. Once there, he was beaten to death with a metal pipe.
Police said Kim Jackson’s wallet was taken during the crime to make it look like a home invasion and robbery had occurred, and Janet Jackson was beaten to make it appear robbers had attacked her. The motive was to collect on her husband’s life insurance policy, according to testimony at Jackson’s trial.
Royark also is serving life in prison for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and armed robbery for his role in the Jackson slaying.
Miller, who was 16 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to 17 years in prison on conspiracy and attempted murder charges. He was paroled in 1995.
Both Jacksons were employed at the Rock Island post office before the murder.
Jackson is incarcerated at the Dwight Correctional Center, and Royark remains at the Menard Correctional Center.