Man, 66, could still face death penalty if convicted in cold case murder

James Leon Jackson charged in 1984 rape and murder of 10-year-old Tammy Welch

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Jackson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Despite his age and infirmity, a 66-year-old man could still face the death penalty in the cold case murder of a 10-year-old girl -- if he is convicted. 

James Leon Jackson is charged in the 1984 rape and murder of Tammy Welch.

Jackson was considered a suspect all along but wasn’t charged until 2013.

In 2016, Jackson’s lawyers filed a motion to block the state attorney's office from seeking the death penalty, per the U.S. Supreme Court's Hurst ruling.

At a hearing Tuesday, the judge denied that motion.

Other motions to preclude the death penalty are pending, and Jackson’s lawyers now want a psychiatric evaluation done.

Jackson’s trial is set for the end of the month. 

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