Zay Jackson enters plea in Walmart parking lot case


Catlin Bogard - WPSD Producer
Jason Hibbs - Reporter
Chad Darnall - Photojournalist

Murray State basketball player Zay Jackson has pleaded guilty to one count of wanton endangerment and one count of assault stemming from an incident in a Wal-Mart parking lot in September.

Jackson was sentenced to five years on both counts, to be served concurrently. But under the terms of a plea deal, Jackson will serve 60 days. Jackson has already received credit for 11 days served, and will begin serving the remaining 49 days today.

Under the terms of the deal, Jackson must also pay victim Jason Clement's medical bills and attend counseling.

Police say Jackson hit Clement with his car following an argument on Sept. 10 during an incident in the Walmart parking lot in Murray, Kentucky.
Jackson was originally charged with second-degree assault and first-degree wanton endangerment. In his first plea, he pleaded guilty to first-degree wanton endangerment, but the deal was rejected.

Zay Jackson is headed to jail, where he'll serve a 60 day sentence after pleading guilty to assault and wanton endangerment
We're all familiar with the video from last September of Jackson running into a fellow customer in the Murray Walmart parking lot, then taking him on a ride he won't forget.  That was just the beginning of the twists and turns in this case.

We've been following this developing story for five months, Jackson was initially charged with assault, but those charges were downgraded, he pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal that included 30 days in jail.

But the judge at the time admitted he had close ties to Murray State, and stepped down from the case. The new judge said the original punishment didn't fit the crime.
So Jackson took back his guilty plea and the case started all over.
Today both sides and the new judge agreed to a final plea deal.
But even that deal was surrounded by controversy and confusion in the courtroom.

Zay Jackson; ready to face the judge and his fate for the second time.
Like last time both sides agreed to a plea deal. This one includes 60 days in jail for two counts of wanton endangerment.

Jackson's victims Jason and Alia Clement thought Jackson would be charged with one count of wanton endangerment, and a stiffer count of assault. The judge let them come forward.

"I would really like if you could work it back to where its assault in second because I think he deserves the 'C' felony, honestly," Alia Clement said.

The judge agreed. Assault comes with the same jail time as wanton endangerment, so Jackson took the revised plea deal, Jackson's attorney said he'd take Jackson straight to jail.  When Jackson gets out he'll be on probation, and the judge said he'd better behave.

"Drinking a beer, getting caught smoking a joint, getting caught doing much of anything that's not right straight down the line subjects you to the remainder of a five years prison term," Judge Craig Clymer said.

Jackson agreed, and after a whisper at the bench, he shook Alia and Jason's hands and said he was sorry.

Per the plea deal, Jackson loses his license for 30 days, he has to go to counseling and must pay for Jason Clement's medical bills.  Clement is currently seeing a specialist in Nashville and may need surgery on his arm.  He doesn't have insurance and says he's not sure how much money he'll need.