Accused Mother Cries at Daughters' Murder Trial

Jacks shows emotion after seeing daughters' pictures

A woman accused of killing her four daughters showed her first signs of emotion Thursday as her own mother took the stand.

As prosecutors asked Mamie Jacks to identify three of her granddaughters in a photo, Banita Jacks, 35, began crying and rubbing her eyes. That prompted Judge Frederick Weisberg to call for a brief recess so Jacks could regain her compsure.

Although Mamie Jacks was called as a witness for the prosecution, she had good things to say about her daughter. Mamie Jacks said that Banita took good care of her children, that she never saw her mistreat them, and that she thought it would have been out of character for Banita to harm them.

However, Mamie Jacks also testified that she had not seen Banita since 2005, and that she called Social Services in 2006 to check up on them. Mamie Jacks said that if her daughter had contacted her, she would have helped her.

Jessie Fogel, grandmother to two of the girls, said that Banita Jacks had forbidden her to see the girls. Fogel said that Banita Jacks said, "I will kill you" if Fogel went near the girls.

A deputy U.S. marshal and a real estate broker also testified in the second day of the trial Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.

The girls' bodies were found by marshals in January 2008 while serving an eviction notice at Jacks' home on 6th Street S.E. The girls, ages 5, 6, 11 and 17, had been dead for months.

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Jacks pleaded not guilty in September to charges of premeditated first-degree murder.

Weisberg will weigh the evidence without a jury after Jacks requested a bench trial.

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