Protesters Maintain Vigil Outside Home of Man Cleared by Grand Jury of Murder Charges

Protesters leave messages outside home of Evanda M. Jackson on Kimball Street. (Jarvi Productions photograph for WHAV News.)

Protesters staged a candlelight vigil last outside the home of a 46-year-old Haverhill man who was cleared by a grand jury in the murder of a 21-year-old man in September.

Dozens of candles weighed down a makeshift memorial with handwritten posters with such messages as “Justice for Izayah Cruz,” “Who Killed My Son?” “No Justice No Peace” and “Forever 21.” Haverhill Police maintained a presence at the Kimball Street residence.

Evanda M. Jackson was ordered freed Thursday after a grand jury Wednesday declined to pass down any indictments against the man. Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office told WHAV Thursday morning prosecutors made different pitches to a grand jury to charge him.

“They were asked to consider first degree murder, second degree murder and manslaughter…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.

Izayah Cruz was stabbed to death Sept. 1. Jackson was arrested the same day and appeared before Haverhill District Court Judge Patricia A. Dowling for arraignment.

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 man. 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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