Friday, March 14 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-03-14 23:45:15 GMT
(WMC-TV) - The mother of a teenager shot and killed Monday says her son was cyberstalked before his death. Authorities are still investigating Monday's murder that took the life of 17-year-old DonterriusMore >>
The mother of a teenager shot and killed Monday says her son was cyberstalked before his death.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN -
(WMC) - A Mid-South mom says her son was bullied to death.
"When I was looking at him in the coffin, I promised him that I would fight for justice," said mother Linda Jackson.
Jackson's life hasn't been the same since her son Donterrius was shot and killed in March 2014. She says online threats came long before Cortez Bass was charged with murder.
"It's something that Tunica County was aware of," Jackson said.
Court documents reveal Bass plead guilty to two simple assault charges brought by Linda Jackson in December 2013. One for a fight with Donterrius, the other for making Facebook threats. Bass spent only a few days in jail and paid a fine for the misdemeanor charges.
"Eight days. That was a joke to him," Jackson said.
Months later, Jackson's family says Bass was at it again. This time creating a Facebook page called "Donterrius Die," where they say he posted threats to kill Jackson and others he was associated with.
Tunica County investigators say another complaint was filed, this time for felony charges. But just as deputies began their investigation a cell phone captured Donterrius Jackson's last moments alive.
Investigators say Cortez Bass shot and killed him in his front yard.
"It has to stop, I mean children are dying because of it: cyber stalking, bullying," Jackson said.
"If you threaten somebody by use of the Internet, that is punishable by up to five years," said Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.
He says laws are in place to aggressively prosecute cyber bullies. But the WMC Action News Five Investigators have learned the charge depends on a complainant's knowledge of the law.
In this case, Linda Jackson signed off on misdemeanor charges against Bass last December, a quick fix to stop bullying only temporarily. A felony complaint carries stiffer penalties, such as five years in prison, but it takes more time to investigate.
Tunica County investigators say that's why Bass wasn't picked up before he allegedly murdered his former classmate. Back in March of 2014, Tunica County Sheriff's Investigator Cedric Davis said there wasn't much the mother could do other than removing the son out of school and talking with school officials.
"Prosecutors can charge misdemeanor or felony on most of these. It's up to the prosecutor discretion how bad the activity is," said Hood.
The Mississippi Attorney General wouldn't discuss particulars of the case, but in an email his spokesperson said:
"We cannot try to offer an analysis on a case we weren't involved in, and may or may not have all the facts to consider. In general, our law enforcement officers have a tough job and can only work with the facts they have at hand, the laws in place, and with the charges that are filed in any given case," he said.
The Tunica County Justice Clerk said it is up to the complainant to determine the charge, which is a call to action for parents to familiarize themselves with state law.
Linda Jackson will never know whether a felony charge filed earlier could have saved her son's life, but she does know she's not done fighting.
"It's the judges, the laws, [and] the whole system. I still feel incomplete, and I will probably always feel that way," said Jackson.
Monday, September 1 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:00:48 GMT
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