Four Dead In Murder, Suicide in Va.

By Nick Miroff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A man who killed his two young children and their mother in a Stafford County mobile home before taking his own life Monday night had been high on cocaine and drinking whiskey for days, according to a woman who said she spent the weekend with the man and was planning to move in with him next month.

Police said they think Aaron P. Jackson, 24, used an AK-47K--style assault rifle to fatally shoot his daughter, Nicole Aaron Jackson, 2 1/2 , his son, Aaron Neptune Jackson, 1 1/2 , and their mother, Latasha Nicole Thomas, 23, before committing suicide at the Walt Lou Trailer Park along Route 1, north of Fredericksburg. Both children were found alive in their cribs with gunshot wounds to the head and were rushed to hospitals -- one by helicopter -- but did not survive.

The incident was the latest in a recent string of domestic slayings in the Washington region. In March, a Montgomery County man drowned his three children in a hotel room bathtub, and since last year, at least six other family murder-suicides have taken place.

At the mobile home park in Stafford yesterday, Ashley Price, 24, of Spotsylvania showed up looking for Jackson, only to learn from reporters that the man she said she had begun dating Friday had killed his family and himself.

"Oh my God! Oh my God!" Price said yesterday, gasping for breath in her car as television cameras rolled. "We spent the whole weekend with each other."

A spokesman for the Stafford County Sheriff's Office said that investigators had not spoken to Price and that the probe is ongoing.

Price said Jackson called her from the mobile home Monday, asking her to pick him up. He told her that he had split up with Thomas and wanted her to leave the mobile home. But Price said she was taking care of her own daughter and told Jackson that she could not come get him.

"I wish I had come to pick him up," Price said, trembling from the news as she described their last conversation. "I heard his kids in the background, and I said, 'Enjoy your children.' "

Three hours later, the family was dead.

Police said that Jackson and Thomas had been fighting Monday and that Thomas had called a relative asking for help after being assaulted by Jackson. But she called back about 9:30 p.m. to say everything was all right.

Police said the relative drove to the mobile home park anyway and got no response when she knocked on the door. She checked with a neighbor, who told her he had heard a gunshot coming from the home about 10 minutes before she arrived, police said.

Yesterday, the mobile home where the family had lived for the past six months was strewed with children's clothing and trash, the kitchen counters crowded with empty liquor bottles. A pair of men's work boots rested by the door on the porch.

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