Man charged in Haverhill fatal stabbing once took court-ordered anger classes

Stabbing suspectEvanda Jackson 

The man charged in last week's fatal stabbing in Haverhill has been suspended from his job at Anna Jaques Hospital and was once ordered by a court to attend anger management classes.

Evanda Jackson, 46, of 10 Kimball St., has been suspended without pay from his job at Anna the hospital in Newburyport, according to hospital spokeswoman Danielle Perry. Jackson is accused of stabbing 21-year-old Izayah Cruz to death early Tuesday morning in Haverhill's Acre neighborhood.

Perry said Jackson works in the central sterile department of Anna Jaques, cleaning operating room equipment.

Jackson was arraigned on a murder charge on Tuesday of last week in Haverhill District Court, hours after the stabbing which happened at 3:48 a.m., police said. Judge Patricia Dowling ordered Jackson held without bail.

During the arraignment, a prosecutor noted Jackson has a violent past, which includes an incident in December of 2017 in Salisbury where he drove his car into another man. Although that case was later continued without a finding for a year, Jackson was ordered to attend and complete an anger management course.

On Dec. 22, 2017, Jackson was arraigned in Newburyport District Court on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a motor vehicle), and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot), according to court officials.

Those charges led to him being ordered to take the anger management course.

Altercation in Salisbury

According to a police report, about 1 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2017, Salisbury police were sent to the Winner's Circle sports pub for a reported fight. Police said they found a man laying motionless on the ground and being treated by emergency responders.

Jackson told police he was leaving the pub when a man uttered some racial slurs. Jackson said he ignored the insults and got into his car along with a friend, when the man began striking the car with his fists. Jackson said he backed up to get away from the man, but the man jumped onto the car's hood and was pounding on it and the windshield. Jackson told police he stepped on the gas to get the man off his car.

Two firefighters who told police they were with the victim at the bar said the man, who was their friend, was having angry words with Jackson, according to a police report. They said tried to hold their friend back, but he got away from them and chased Jackson's vehicle, according to the report.

The two men said Jackson then backed up his vehicle and nearly pinned them and their friend against another vehicle, according to the report. The friend then jumped onto the hood of Jackson's vehicle, which accelerated up an embankment, the report said.

Jackson was arrested while the man who jumped on the vehicle was to be charged with malicious injury to real property (damage to a vehicle), police said.

On Aug, 15, 2018, Jackson admitted to sufficient facts to both charges, according to court documents. As part of a plea agreement, the charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon was reduced to assault and battery. Jackson was ordered to stay away from and have no contact with the victim and was ordered to attend and complete an anger management course. His case was continued without a finding for a year.

Jackson charged with murder

According to a police report about last week's stabbing in Haverhill, last Tuesday between 3 and 4 a.m. Cruz dropped off a 21-year-old Haverhill woman he was dating at her home on Kimball Street in the Acre neighborhood. The woman told police that when she arrived home, she noticed her neighbor — later identified as Jackson — drinking Fireball whiskey outside with a friend. She told police Jackson appeared to be intoxicated.

Cruz's girlfriend told police that as the couple was walking toward her home, Jackson approached them and offered her alcohol but she did not accept. He later pushed Cruz, according to the report. Once she was inside her home, the woman saw Jackson push Cruz again, according to the report. Cruz was eventually able to get into his car and leave, the report said. According to Cruz's brother, Elijah, Cruz then returned to their home on North Street and asked his brother to come back to Kimball Street with him to confront Jackson and the other man, the report said.

Elijah told police that Jackson "became enraged" when he and his brother arrived on Kimball Street. When Izayah Cruz got out of his car to confront Jackson, according to police, Jackson pulled out a knife and stabbed him once in the chest.

After the stabbing, Izayah Cruz tried to drive himself to the hospital because his brother could not drive a manual transmission, according to the report, and the car crashed near Water and Boardman streets when Izayah became unconscious. Elijah Cruz told police he was forced to pull the emergency brake to avoid hitting a utility pole. CPR was administered on the scene, according to the report, and Izayah was taken by ambulance to Holy Family Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Jackson's side of the story

Police said Jackson's account of the stabbing differed greatly from the stories given to them by Cruz's girlfriend and brother.

Jackson told police that he arrived home from work last Monday at 11:30 p.m. and was drinking Fireball whiskey with his neighbor outside.

Jackson said that when Izayah Cruz returned to Kimball Street after picking up his brother, the passenger in Cruz's car had an "elongated weapon" in his hand and yelled that Jackson was "messing with the wrong gang,'' according to police. In his own interview with police, Elijah Cruz said he brought a red metal wheel lock device to Kimball Street and began banging it on the ground in an effort to get Jackson and the man with him to back up, according to the police report.

Jackson said he had a small knife in his waistband as the men faced each other, and when Jackson went to reach for the knife, Izayah Cruz punched him in the mouth, according to the report.

Jackson told police he then pulled out the knife and stabbed Izayah Cruz once in the chest, the police report said.




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