By Dorany Pineda
LEIMERT PARK — Neighbors of Phillip White, one of the victims of last week’s triple homicide, are still in shock, but relieved that someone was arrested and charged with murder.
Nancy Amelia Jackson, 55, was charged May 25 with killing White, 65; his mother, Orsie Carter, 82; and his stepfather, William Carter, 83. She is being held without bail on three counts of murder and awaits arraignment July 11.
“During the week, we’ve just been shocked,” said Stephanie Gudino Bravo, an employee at Tak’s Coffee Shop where White had breakfast every morning for years. “We turn around and try to see, when the door opens, if Phillip is here. Sometimes we forget and think ‘Oh, Phillip hasn’t been here for a while…’”
After hearing about Jackson’s arrest, Bravo and her parents — who have owned the business for 22 years — were glad that White and his family could obtain justice.
Walter Rolfe, White’s friend of 35 years and a 52-year resident of Leimert Park, still is devastated by the murders.
“I feel devastated because why would you do a person that way?… He was a real nice person and he didn’t deserve to die that way.”
Prosecutors will later decide whether to seek the death penalty against Jackson for what a Los Angeles police captain called a “senseless” and “brutal” act. Jackson was arrested May 23 in Culver City and taken into custody without incident.
During a news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters May 25, Capt. Peter Whittingham told reporters that Jackson went from being a “mere person of interest, maybe even a material witness” to being arrested and charged in the “senseless and brutal murder of this innocent family.”
Carlos Diaz, who has worked for years at a shoe repair shop adjacent to White’s home, said he felt more relaxed knowing that someone was in custody.
“When we heard how everything happened, we were kind of surprised how violent it was,” Diaz said. “So it’s kind of a relief to know that someone has been arrested.”
Diaz said White picked up some personal items from Gilbee’s Shoe Repair a couple of days before he was killed.
Shaivuddin, owner of Zam-Zam Perfume in Crenshaw Plaza, said that White visited his store not long before his murder.
“It was scary and sad. I saw [White and Jackson] one week before [the murder]. … They came into the store and walked around,” he said. “I feel more relaxed … because I didn’t know she was a suspect, and now that I found out, I was like ‘Oh my God.’”
Homicide investigators have developed evidence that “conclusively identified the only suspect who is responsible in this case,” Whittingham said.
“What I have seen indicates that this lady was manipulative in nature [and] took unfair advantage of the illness of Mr. White and frowned upon anyone intervening, including his mother and stepdad,” he said.
Jackson had been staying at White’s home for three to six weeks and knew White from years ago, Whittingham said.
“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,” he added. “But in doing so, 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, and what we see at that location is a result of that kindness that was extended to [her] by Mr. White.”
According to Whittingham, White’s mother and legal caretaker, Orsie, saw that Jackson was manipulating White, so she insisted that she leave his house.
“But as we now know, [Jackson] was not going to have anything to do with what she was told because she had, in my view, determined that it was a good thing and nobody was going to get between her and a good thing,” he added.
The bodies were discovered May 22 inside White’s home in the 3900 block of South Bronson Avenue. Police said the victims were shot and suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
Terry Carter, White’s brother, said his family were “beautiful, loving, gracious, generous people.”