4 await legal fate in Dearborn man’s death

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Four Detroit residents accused of killing a local man may face a trial depending on a preliminary exam that was scheduled for Friday.

The exam was scheduled after press time Friday.

The first portion of the preliminary exam for suspects Charles Jackson, 26; Zelda Taylor, 28; Iashia Knox, 28; and Kristen Holmes, 28, took place Aug. 28 after they were arrested July 20 in connection with the death of 45-year-old Hassan Jaber.

Police believe Jaber died on July 12 in the 6200 block of Williamson.

The four were arraigned July 23 on charges of felony murder, punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole, and armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, both punishable by up to life in prison. They are currently at the Wayne County Jail without bond.

Taylor and Jackson have a son together and Knox and Holmes are cousins.

During the preliminary exam 19th District Court Judge Mark Somers listened — with a crowded court room of supporters for the defendants — to almost four hours of testimony about the alleged connection between the suspects and Jaber.

Dearborn Police Sgt. Andreas Barnett, co-lead investigator, testified that he saw Jaber’s house in disarray after he died and saw Jaber nude half on the bed and half on the floor.

Barnett and Cpl. James Isaacs, a fellow detective, interviewed Knox three days after the body was found. A four-page handwritten statement by Knox, said that she, Taylor and Holmes drove a borrowed car from a house in Detroit — that Jackson and Taylor shared on Burgess Street — and they planned to drive to Jaber’s house to rob him because she knew where he kept his money.

The statement said while Holmes stayed in the car, Taylor and Knox went into the house and Taylor and Jaber started to undress when Jackson busted into the bedroom and started beating Jaber, according to the statement.

Taylor’s cousin, Osie Taylor, testified that Zelda Taylor called him on his cellphone at 3:42 p.m. on July 17 when he was preparing to leave for work and that while crying she told him that she killed Jaber.

Osie Taylor, who said he did not talk to his cousin on a daily basis, said he told his boss what his cousin said. During his testimony he said “I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be involved.”

Zelda Taylor shed a few tears and held her handcuffed hands to her face and shook her head and said “no” while looking at her cousin during some parts of his testimony.

Another witness, Ebony Collins, also a cousin of Knox and Holmes, said she, Knox, Holmes and Zelda Taylor were at Knox’s house on July 11. The women were drinking but Collins said she did not drink while she was baby-sitting Zelda Taylor’s son. They drove in two cars to Zelda Taylor and Jackson’s house; Jackson was already at the house. The four defendants planned to go out and get more liquor and Collins let them use her 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix, while she stayed behind to babysit.

Collins said before they left she had taken the baby from the living room to the kitchen because the baby was fussing and she said while in the kitchen she overheard a conversation between Zelda Taylor and Jackson, with Taylor saying she and Knox could head to Jaber’s house and have three-way sex.

She testified that Jackson said he could enter through a side door, accuse Jaber of having an affair with Taylor, pretending she was his wife, knock Jaber unconscious, tie him down and rob him. Zelda Taylor said she knew Jaber kept money in his kitchen, Collins alleged in her testimony.

The defendants did not speak during the preliminary exam.

Police believe Jaber was killed with a tree branch.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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