Janzen Jackson, former elite recruit, facing murder charges in California

Janzen Jackson (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Former Tennessee defensive back Janzen Jackson, once one of the nation’s top football prospects, has been in jail since last September on $1 million bond for allegedly murdering a man who was staying with his mother in California.

The Los Angeles Register wrote about the case last month.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department online records indicate that Jackson is still being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility and faces his next court date on July 15.

Jackson was an elite safety prospect out of Lake Charles, La., who signed with the Vols in 2009. He was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery during his freshman year, but charges were dropped. He was reinstated to the team and started all 13 games in 2010, but was dismissed in 2011 for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

He finished his career at McNeese State and got a brief look in the NFL before playing part of the 2013 season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Shortly after being cut by Toronto, he apparently returned to live with his mother in California, who shared the home with Frank Herrera.

The Register reported that Jackson’s mother testified that her son began having mental problems and was hearing voices.

Jackson is accused of strangling Herrera and leaving his decomposing body in the trunk of a car.

Aside from the one story by the Register, the case does not appear to have attracted much media attention.

Jackson’s father is McNeese State defensive coordinator Lance Guidry.

The second paragraph was updated to reflect the fact that article in question was published last month.