FORT CARSON, Colo. — Sgt. Vincinte Jackson began his suicide note with an apology, his defense attorney said.
He didn’t regret his pending death — rather, the slaying of a fellow Fort Carson soldier.
While attorneys prosecuting and defending Jackson agreed Monday that he allegedly cut and stabbed Spc. Brandy Fonteneaux dozens of times in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, their accounts of the killing diverged with the next sentences of that note.
“I’m sorry for what I did,” defense attorney, Capt. Melissa Dasgupta-Smith, read during the opening of Jackson’s court martial Monday. “I had no intention of doing what I did. Celexa and alcohol made me go deeper and deeper into a hole…”
A panel of eight Fort Carson soldiers listened in silence as prosecutors opened the court-martial for Jackson, a soldier with the post’s 4th Engineers Battalion, with accusations he entered Fonteneaux’s barracks room, pulled her from bed and ruthlessly stabbed — ending the attack by strangling her. A Fort Carson sergeant found Fonteneaux’s half-naked body lying on her bedroom floor a day later — after the victim’s sister, Lore Woods-Malloy, said Fonteneaux stopped returning her calls, texts and Facebook messages.
Prosecutors charged Jackson with premeditated murder two weeks later.
Army prosecutor Capt. Rick Mathew told the court about Jackson’s confession at a Colorado Springs mental hospital, as well as comments he made the night before the attack to a fellow soldier.
“I’m feeling homicidal. I’m feeling suicidal,” Jackson allegedly told the soldier, kicking off a short conversation about killing people, Mathew said.
Defense attorneys countered that a sleep-deprived Jackson — who was cleared by the post’s medical board for retirement after suffering a shrapnel wound in Iraq — had an out-of-body experience during the attack after mixing prescription drugs with Crown Royal whiskey.
“Things started to blur and his perception became warped,” said Dasgupta-Smith, describing Jackson as, watching himself in horror the entire time.
Fonteneaux suffered 74 cuts and stab wounds, Dr. Paul Uribe, who performed her autopsy, testified. Most were superficial, though her neck was slashed and her chest cavity was pierced 11 times, he said.
After her body was found Jan. 8, the battalion’s top enlisted soldier found Jackson lying face-down in his room, bloody after cutting himself and taking more medication.
Jackson sat silent on the ambulance ride to Evans Army Community Hospital. The look on Jackson’s face reminded witness Tim Pettigrew — a paramedic and former soldier — of the expression of troops he saw traumatized in Iraq.
“In my experience, I’d call it a 1,000-yard stare — someone who has given up,” Pettigrew said.