The Waupaca man accused of killing his 2-year-old stepson has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental defect.
Joseph A. Jackson, 28, Waupaca, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide in October 2014.
He appeared in Waupaca County Circuit Court with his attorney Suzanne O’Neill Tuesday and entered the insanity plea.
Judge Raymond Huber ordered that a psychiatrist examine Jackson within 15 days at the county jail where he is in custody on a $100,000 cash bond.
On the morning of May 25, 2014, Waupaca Police Officer Nicole Hahn was dispatched to Jackson’s home. She reported finding a toddler who had no pulse and was not breathing.
The boy was taken to Riverside Medical Center, then to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay where he died that night.
After months of investigating the child’s death and an inconclusive autopsy, Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel on Oct. 14 again questioned Jackson about what had happened to the boy.
According to the criminal complaint, Jackson told Hoelzel that the boy had been crying, so he lay down next to him and placed his arm over the boy’s back. He said he did not use a lot of pressure, but enough to hold him still. He then noticed that the child was not breathing, his heart was beating quickly and his body had gone limp.
Jackson allegedly then walked out of the room, hoping the boy would be OK and start breathing again. By the time Jackson returned, the boy’s lips had turned blue.
Assistant District Attorney Veronica Isherwood charged Jackson with homicide the day after his confession.
Jackson also faces a charge of felony child abuse involving another stepson whom he is accused of pushing to the ground and injuring on June 24, 2014. He has entered the insanity plea in this case as well.
Jackson is a registered sex offender who was convicted in Waupaca County of three misdemeanor counts of sex with a child over age 16 in August 2007. He was sentenced to 18 months in state prison.
Jackson is scheduled to return to court on April 7.
He faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted of first-degree reckless homicide.
If Jackson is found not guilty by reason of mental defect, the judge could order that he be confined in a secure mental health facility.