Furious that his childhood friend had spurned his romantic advances, Christopher M. Jackson allegedly decided that Keosha N. Gilmore had to die, prosecutors said Monday, detailing a tragic saga of anger and retribution.
And so, on the night of Feb. 19, 2012, as Gilmore, 25, sat in a car on Alabama Street in Mattapan with her boyfriend, Jackson strode up to the car and fired two shots through the window, hitting her in the head and chest, according to prosecutors in Dorchester Municipal Court, where Jackson was arraigned on a charge of murder.
“This was not a random murder,” Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Gretchen Lundgren said in court. “This was a premeditated act of unspeakable violence precipitated by the defendant’s unwillingness to accept that Miss Gilmore, who was a childhood friend of his, didn’t share the same romantic feelings that he had for her.’’
Jackson, 26, was arrested Friday and a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf Monday to charges of murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition. Judge Rosalind Miller ordered him held without bail.
Lundgren described the killing as an assassination. After shooting Gilmore, Jackson allegedly ran across Alabama Street and into the New Calvary Cemetery, where he dumped the gun, a hat, and latex gloves, Lundgren said. His DNA later tied him to some of those items, she said, and he admitted to owning them in an interview with police.
He also allegedly offered police an explanation of that night’s events. Lundgren said police quoted him as saying in an interview this year, “I made the mistake of letting my anger overshadow my intelligence.”
But defense attorney Kevin Macdonald said that his client was an innocent man wrongly accused of a horrific crime. Macdonald said Jackson has continually cooperated with Boston police detectives, voluntarily providing a DNA sample that later linked him to the items left in the cemetery.
“He’s never been in trouble with the law,’’ Macdonald said in an interview after the arraignment. “He cooperated fully with this investigation. He provided a DNA sample when he didn’t have to do that. That’s evidence of an individual’s innocence, rather than their guilt.’’
Macdonald said Jackson has a learning disability and has trouble understanding written and spoken material. His client’s comments about being overtaken by anger, he said, were distorted by prosecutors.
Jackson did not come into the prisoner’s dock at the request of his attorney, instead listening to proceedings from behind a door. His mother and a handful of other relatives sat on a bench in the front row of the court.
Gilmore’s friends and relatives, including her mother and stepfather, packed the courtroom on the other side of the aisle, and at one point there was standing room only. Some family members hugged each other and wept during the arraignment.
Outside the courtroom after the arraignment, Gilmore’s great-aunt spoke with the family of the accused killer.
“I am sorry,’’ she was overheard telling Jackson’s relatives. “Put it in God’s hands.’’
Gilmore’s great-aunt held hands with a woman Jackson’s defense attorney identified as Jackson’s aunt and the two women spoke quietly for about a minute. “That’s somebody else’s child,” she said of Jackson when asked about the conversation.
Gilmore’s great-aunt, who described her connection to Gilmore but who refused to give her name, described Keosha as a “very quiet, friendly person’’ who “never got into nothing.’’
“We have to put everything in God’s hands,’’ she said, pointing skyward as she left the courthouse. “He will take care of it.’’
Other relatives on both sides declined comment.
A Facebook page titled “In Loving Memory of Keosha N. Gilmore” has tributes to her, with friends and family marking holidays, birthdays, and the anniversary of her death. A post written on the day Jackson was arrested by a man who identifies himself on the page as her father reads: “I promised . . . and I kept my word to you. We love you so much. This is only the beginning.”
Jackson is scheduled to appear in court again May 8.