Man police say raped, killed 10-year-old set for trial

James Jackson, 64, arrested 30 years after girl's 1984 murder

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Jackson
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Jackson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused of raping and killing a 10-year-old Jacksonville girl in 1984 has a new trial date.

James Jackson, 64, will stand trial in October in the death of Tammy Welch, whose body was found in the courtyard of her apartment complex more than 30 years ago.

Jury selection will begin Oct. 23. There are still three separate defense motions pending to block the State Attorney's Office form seeking the death penalty.

Jackson was arrested in 2013 but his case ground to a halt after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Florida's death penalty law unconstitutional and the Florida Supreme Court ruled that all death sentences must be by unanimous jury verdict.

Police said Jackson killed Tammy, his neighbor, in 1984, but he wasn't arrested until DNA evidence connected him to the crime.

Jackson has continued to deny any involvement in Tammy's killing.

Tammy and her sister were playing in their apartment complex courtyard when the sister went inside, leaving Tammy alone. When she came out, Tammy was nowhere to be found.

When they searched they discovered her body in the courtyard.

Police questioned Jackson, the family's next-door neighbor, repeatedly over the years.

He said he'd been asleep, and twice provided DNA samples. In 2012, investigators got a match with evidence from the crime scene.