Sacto 9-1-1
May 25, 2012
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened in '80s murder case?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened in the John Lithgow murder case in the late '80s?
Submitted by: Chadyd, Sacramento

ANSWER: Rafael Leland Jackson was convicted in 1995 of murdering 18-year-old John Lithgow in a parking lot on Mack Road on the night of Aug. 26, 1988.

According to stories in The Bee, Lithgow and two close friends were walking along Mack Road when they passed two other teenagers in a Kmart parking lot.

"Do you know me?" were reportedly the only words exchanged before Lithgow was fatally shot in the chest.

Fingerprints on a McDonald's drinking cup and on a pair of non-prescription eyeglasses were found. But no arrests were made until January 1994, when a full set of Jackson's fingerprints were obtained and a match made by a Sacramento police detective.

Jackson originally was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison, but according to Sacramento Superior Court online records, the sentence in 2002 was modified to 8 years.

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