It’s sometimes difficult to comprehend what people are capable of doing to one another.
The death of Jesus Isidor-Mendoza presents such a case.
Pierce County authorities allege three people conspired last fall to rape the 19-year-old Lakewood resident, drown him in a metal bucket once used to store kids’ toys and then cut his body in half.
Investigators say the two men and a woman then stuffed Isidor-Mendoza’s remains into a duffel bag and dumped it into a Tacoma ravine, where it was discovered last week.
On Thursday, prosecutors charged Wallace Jackson, 48; Crystal Jackson, 30; and Darrel Daves, 49, with first-degree murder in Isidor-Mendoza’s death. All pleaded not guilty in Superior Court.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Wallace Jackson and Crystal Jackson, who are not related, each jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. Foley ordered Daves jailed in lieu of $5 million.
A person who lives in the area found Isidor-Mendoza’s remains after overhearing Wallace Jackson tell someone a dead body was in the ravine, court records show. Detectives later tied Wallace Jackson to Crystal Jackson and Daves, court records show.
Isidor-Mendoza went missing Oct. 22. His mother, who later reported his disappearance to police, said he left her house that day carrying a backpack and on his way to class at Pierce College.
He never made it.
Instead, Isidor-Mendoza found his way to the Tacoma home of Crystal Jackson, court records show. Why is unclear. Isidor-Mendoza’s mother told police her son knew Wallace Jackson and that the older man had come looking for him on at least once.
Crystal Jackson later told police she had been allowing Daves to live in a detached garage next to her house on East 65th Street.
On the day he died, Isidor-Mendoza showed up at her house and walked around back toward the garage, Crystal Jackson allegedly told investigators.
Not long after, she said she heard someone yell for help. Crystal Jackson said she went to the garage and saw Wallace Jackson holding Isidor-Mendoza down and having sex with him, court records show.
Crystal Jackson said she walked back to the house for a few minutes before returning to the garage. Once there, records show, she said she saw Wallace Jackson and Daves forcing Isidor-Mendoza’s head into a metal bucket filled with water.
She told police she previously used the bucket to store children’s toys.
Crystal Jackson said she again returned to the house. About 20 minutes later, Daves came inside to retrieve a “machete-type knife,” she told investigators, and she later saw Daves using it to cut Isidor-Mendoza’s body.
She said she later helped the men disposed of their clothes and Isidor-Mendoza’s body, court records show.
Investigators later found evidence, including Isidor-Mendoza’s backpack at her house. His books and school work were inside, the records show.
Daves told investigators he knew Wallace Jackson and Crystal Jackson and had been staying in the detached garage, but he denied killing anyone or moving a body.
“At one point, he heard Crystal talk to Wallace about a body, but he didn’t know anything else about it,” deputy prosecutor Jared Ausserer wrote in charging papers.
Wallace Jackson later told detectives he’d helped Crystal Jackson dispose of a body, but that he knew nothing else about it.
The motive was murky, but Wallace Jackson and Daves are know users of illegal drugs and there was the suggestion in court records that Crystal Jackson might have thought Isidor-Mendoza stole from her.