Man Accused of September Stabbing Murder to be Freed After Grand Jury Refuses to Indict

Evanda M. Jackson, 46, at his arraignment Sept. 1, 2020 in Haverhill District Court. (WHAV News photograph.)

The 46-year-old Haverhill man, who has been held since September for the murder of a 21-year-old man, will soon be free after a grand jury refused to indict him on Wednesday.

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office told WHAV Thursday morning prosecutors made different pitches to a grand jury to hold Evanda M. Jackson.

“They were asked to consider first degree murder, second degree murder and manslaughter.  You should check with the Sheriff to confirm his release but there is no longer any reason to hold him.  There are no other charges pending,” said Carrie Kimball, Blodgett’s spokeswoman. A grand jury indictment would have moved Jackson’s case to Superior Court, but jurors returned a “no bill” on the different charges.

The 21-year-old man, stabbed to death Sept. 1, was identified as Izayah Cruz, during Jackson’s arraignment the same day before Haverhill District Court Judge Patricia A. Dowling.

Haverhill Police were dispatched to Boardman and Water Streets just before 4 a.m., Sept. 1, discovered a car accident and found the stab victim’s brother yelling for help. Police said Cruz, of North Street, Haverhill, was the driver of the car and had a stab wound in the center of his chest. Officers said he displayed a blue complexion and was “cold to the touch.” Police began CPR and were joined shortly by Haverhill Fire and Trinity EMS. Cruz was pronounced dead at Holy Family Hospital.

Cruz’s brother told police his brother had earlier been with a 22-year-old woman who lived next door to Jackson. During the earlier encounter, two men—one matching Jackson’s description—approached Cruz and “scratched” him. Interviewed at the police station, Jackson said the initial confrontation came when Cruz accused him of “disrespecting” him by talking to the woman and offering her drinks.

Cruz left, but returned shortly thereafter with his brother to confront the men. After Cruz reportedly left his car and “screamed” at Jackson, his brother told police, Jackson pulled out a knife and stabbed him. Jackson told police, however, that he warned the two brothers he had a small knife in his waistband. He added, the brother appeared to moving towards him with an “elongated weapon” when Cruz punched Jackson in the face. In a separate report, the brother acknowledged he was carrying a red metal wheel lock device. Jackson responded by stabbing Cruz once in the chest and then went back to his house.

Cruz drove the car since his brother did not know how to drive a standard transmission.

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