Man sent to death row for murdering Dallas officer could get punishment changed

Image 1 of 2

The widow of murdered Dallas Police Officer Brian Jackson is angry that the killer's death sentence may soon be changed to life without parole.

The move comes after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on a different Texas death row case. The court ruled Texas wasn't properly determining if a death row inmate was intellectually disabled.

“I think he'd be angry, upset if he were here and it was someone else,” said widow JoAnn Jackson of her late husband Ofc. Brian Jackson. “He would want justice to be served. He would also understand if he were truly I.D., he doesn't deserve the death penalty.”

More than a decade after Juan Lizcano was sentenced to die for murdering the Dallas police officer, his widow feels mixed emotions about the possibility of that sentence changing.

“He went out that night with the intent of harming someone -- whether it was his ex-girlfriend or whoever intervened,” Jackson said of Lizcano.

Jackson says she believes criminals who are intellectually disabled should not be executed. But she's not convinced that's the case with Lizcano, who gunned down Brian in front of a home in November 2005.

The case was emotional for the officer's friends because Jackson volunteered to help on a domestic disturbance call made by Lizcano's ex-girlfriend.

“If he didn't know the difference between right and wrong why did he leave when she called police the first time? Why did he wait up the street until they left, and then come back? Why did he run from police, why did he have a firefight?” Jackson asked.

Lizcano's trial defense argued he was intellectually disabled and that has been the basis of his appeals. With the recent supreme court ruling, Dallas County District Attorney John Cruezot believes his office can no longer challenge Lizcano's legal claim.

Jackson is coming to terms with the possibility of his death sentence being changed to life.

“I have to tell myself he won't be able to hurt anyone else,” Jackson said.

Thursday is the deadline for the trial court to submit findings of fact to the court of criminal appeals. Then, it will be up to a judge to decide if Lizcano is intellectually disabled.

If the judge finds that Lizcano is I.D., he will receive a sentence of life without parole.