Lead Story West Edition

Friend labels death a ‘fatal attraction’

By Dorany Pineda

Contributing Writer

LEIMERT PARK –– Perhaps Phillip White had a premonition when he told a friend in 2013, “Whatever you do, don’t ever let this woman in my house again.” But despite his better judgment, White let the woman back in his home.

That same woman, Nancy Amelia Jackson, is now being held without bail for allegedly killing White, his mother, Orsie Carter, and his stepfather, William Carter, in that same house.

Jackson pleaded not guilty July 30 to the triple homicide of May 22. She also is facing a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, but prosecutors haven’t decided if they will seek the death penalty.

White, 65, and Jackson, 56, met more than 20 years ago while ice skating at Midtown Shopping Center’s World on Wheels, said John Nelson, a 54-year friend of White.

“I think what it was was a fatal attraction,” he said. “She knew that his wife had passed away and he was living in that house all by himself.”

Months ago, White took Jackson into his home and gave her a place to stay when she was down on her luck, police said. According to Nelson, Jackson once told White she was headed to Las Vegas and needed a place to stay for several days. He obliged, but days turned into weeks, and she would not leave.

“I can’t get this woman out of my house,” Nelson recalled White telling him. When Nelson and friends asked him what he would do, White allegedly replied: “My mother’s going to take care of it.”

White and his mother had tried to get Jackson to leave the house, but she repeatedly said she wasn’t going to leave, according to Nelson.

“But the mother wasn’t having that,” he said. “The mother was very stern, and it’s unfortunate that [Jackson] turned like that.”

The three bodies were found around 8:20 p.m. May 22 inside White’s home in the 3900 block of South Bronson Avenue. White and his mother were shot in the head and chest, and her husband died of blunt force head trauma, according to the coroner’s office.

“This was a case where you have somebody who was down and out on their luck, it appears, and found somebody, a kind-hearted, giving person, to provide help and support and give her a chance to get off the street,” Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Peter Whittingham said at a May news conference. “But in so doing, she also used that opportunity, in my view, to manipulate Mr. Phillip White, who as we know was disabled, and take unfair advantage of him and his kindness.”

A picture of Phillip White is still on display at Tak’s Coffee Shop in Leimert Park more than two months after he, his mother and stepfather were killed at his home in Leimert Park. White was a regular at the coffee shop, whose owner noted there is a ‘sadness in the community’ since his death. (Photo by Dorany Pineda)

According to Nelson and a 15-year friend of White, who asked to remain anonymous, White suffered a brain injury about 10 years ago that triggered symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

While White was working as a probation officer with at-risk youth in Malibu, a kid threw a ball at his head and knocked him down. The accident, Nelson said, forced him to retire.

“Phillip [was] an athlete. He was an all-city track star, football player,” he said, remembering his friend’s slow, struggled walk. White played football at West L.A. College in 1970 and at Cal State Long Beach in 1972, according to Nelson. “He was a physical specimen, and to see him barely walk…,” Nelson continued, was very upsetting.

“Last time we saw him was that Monday [the day before the murders], and then it happened, and it shocked us all,” he said. “But we all loved him and it’s just unfortunate.”

Since the killings, neighborhood residents haven’t reported any continued police presence, but Yogita Ganeshan, who has lived in Leimert Park for six years, noticed something else.

“I don’t know much about the change, I just know that around here, people are kind of nicer to each other,” Ganeshan said. “I feel people are more open, like ‘let me talk to people and find out who they are.’ I embrace that part.”

Others like Angelina Bravo, owner of Tak’s Coffee Shop which White frequented, said in Spanish that she’s noticed a sadness in the community and is less open to people.

“Personally, one learns not to trust anybody, not to open the doors to your home, because from what I understand, [Nancy] was someone Phillip knew,” Bravo said. “Personally, it made me change.”

White’s anonymous friend said the neighborhood hasn’t changed, but that some are still in disbelief over what happened.

“It’s sad because you have to pass the house,” she said. “You look over at the house and it’s just unfortunate. … I think the neighborhood is just hoping that somebody buys the house, fixes it up because it looks bad right now. No one is cutting the grass and you keep thinking about Phillip because we were all like family here. We were very close.”

Jackson was arrested in Culver City the day after the killings. She is ordered back to court Sept. 17, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Jackson’s attorney is public defender Jennifer Friedman, and Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Chung is prosecuting.