Birmingham AL Sept 17 2016 An elderly man found slain on the back deck of his Birmingham home was a deacon in his church and the well-known, much-loved security at Niki’s West.
The body of Odell Jackson Jr., 80, was discovered at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday at his home in the 1500 block of 34th Street in Ensley. Initially, foul play was not suspected in his death but further investigation revealed otherwise, said Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates.
Authorities have not yet said how Jackson was killed, nor have they announced an arrest in the case.
“Right now there’s a lot of speculation,” said Felicia McKinzy, one of Jackson’s 11 children. “The only thing we’re certain of is he did have an altercation with somebody.”
Odell Jackson Jr. was found dead on the back deck of his Ensley home on Wednesday. Two other men were shot to death this morning in unrelated incidents.
Jackson has lived alone in his Ensley home since his wife passed away on April 10. They had been married for 30 years. “It hasn’t been a good year,” McKinzy said.
McKinzy said she last saw her father on Sunday when she stopped by Lily Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon. “It hadn’t been long since we’d finally gotten everything settled with my mom’s death and we had just gotten her headstone in place,” she said.
On Sunday, they were making plans to go see that new headstone but he died without doing so. “And that’s kind of hurtful and very disappointing,” McKinzy said. “All of this really took me by surprise.”
Jackson retired in 1991 after spending 35 years as a steel worker. After retirement, he began working as a security and had worked at Niki’s West on Finley Avenue for at least six years, his daughter said. “He was a big talker,” she said with a laugh. “He didn’t meet any strangers. I just can’t say it enough that he didn’t meet any strangers.”
When Jackson wasn’t at church or at work, he loved to work in his yard. In fact, McKinzy said, when she first got the call at work that her father was dead, she assumed he had perhaps suffered a medical condition. “He had been working in the yard before he was going to get ready for work, so we initially thought he got overheated,” she said.
The family was stunned when they learned it was homicide. “I never would have thought anybody would have done him any harm,” she said. “The only thing I could think of was he wasn’t the type of person who would provoke anybody. He and my mom were together for 20 years and I never saw him get angry. That would have been totally out of his character.”
“And to just leave him there like that,” she said, “That was the most hurtful part of all.”
She also wants whoever did this to come forward. “If they would just turn themselves in,” she said, “it would really help us to know why.”
McKinzy said she wants people to remember her father as the happy-go-lucky person that he was, and that he was extremely loving and caring. “He was awesome. He was just awesome,” she said. “He always had a smile on his face.”