Judge orders teen to prison for ‘horrific acts’ involving school pets
RACINE — A Mount Pleasant teen accused of breaking into Racine Montessori School in fall and stealing a variety of little pets and computers (and killing some of the animals) was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison.
Calling his acts “horrific,” Racine County Circuit Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz doled out a tongue-lashing as well as a sentence combination of prison time, extended supervision and probation to Isaac T. Jackson, 18.
“This school had little animals: turtles, gerbils, parakeets, fish, (a) hamster, hermit crabs — these are all school pets,” Gasiorkiewicz said. “Every child in that school has a relationship with the pets in that school. There’s a feeling there, and a caring for that animal, and you took that away from them.”
Jackson pleaded guilty last month to one count each of burglary and felony bail jumping stemming from the Nov. 19 break-in at the school, 2317 Howe St. He also has pleaded to charges of robbery by force and another bail jumping charge after he was accused of stealing an iPod in an unrelated case.
Investigators stated Jackson and one of his brothers, Henry Jackson Fondren III, 22, of Racine, broke into the school and stole 11 computers, plus turtles, hamsters, hermit crabs, a newt or salamander, and at least one bird. A computer monitor was shot several times with a pellet gun, according to the criminal complaint.
Gasiorkiewicz said a fish tank was smashed, likely resulting in the death of the fish.
In addition to the fish, Gasiorkiewicz said Jackson also killed a turtle and shot a parakeet with a pellet gun.
“When you hurt those animals, it makes me wonder if you care for anything,” he said. “School is supposed to be...a safe place. They have lost that innocence. They have lost trust. They have lost faith. You hurt a number of children and took their innocence.”
Jackson’s defense attorney, Kathleen Lang Muffitt, said Jackson was born addicted to crack.
He was taken from his mother and placed in foster care, where he was abused, she said. He then went to live with a relative in Memphis, where she said he also was physically abused. Jackson admitted he began smoking marijuana there at 13 years old, she said.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak requested prison time for Jackson, saying it was “for the public’s safety. He’s clearly out of control.”
Silent throughout most of the hearing, Jackson spoke briefly to apologize for his actions.
“I want to apologize to the Unified School District and all the children who were hurt for my selfish actions,” he said.
Racine Montessori School is a private school and is not in the Racine Unified school system.
Jackson also apologized to his family.
“I don’t want to keep coming in and out of jail,” Jackson said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of inmates and this isn’t what I want.”
“You failed yourself. You knew better. You knew not to do this,” Gasiorkiewicz told Jackson.
Five of the seven years behind bars come from consecutive prison sentences on two of the charges. But two of the remaining seven prison-term years were stayed, meaning they won’t kick in unless Jackson violates probation. He also was sentenced to five years extended release, three years’ probation and to pay $4,468.23 in restitution to the school and its insurance carrier.
Jackson Fondren’s plea hearing is set for July 9, according to court records.