true crime

James claimed he didn't rape and kill 10-year-old Tammy. His tattoo proved otherwise.

The horrific case of a 10-year-old’s murder went unsolved for over three decades until a sordid piece of evidence was identified in plain sight on the culprit’s skin: a tattoo commemorating the year of the child’s death.

As The Sun reports, Tammy Welch was brutally raped and murdered in her Florida home in 1984, but until 2013, James Leon Jackson – the man responsible – went uncharged.

The 66-year-old was in prison awaiting trial when it was discovered he had a tattoo on his back which read “Tammy Welch, 1984” – a skin-crawling tribute to the year he committed the heinous crime.

He was arrested in 2013, after a federal grant allowed the retesting of evidence, but details of the tattoo have only recently been released.

Yesterday, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sexual battery – with the recently discovered tattoo the main ammo for the prosecutors.

“It was a little girl. I wouldn’t kill no little girl,” Jackson said on the stand.

But his inmates – who testified in trial – said he had not only confessed, but admitted that he “could’ve gotten away with the murder if the girl didn’t break the screen door”.

He also claimed the tattoo – which investigators dubbed a “confession written on skin”, according to the Washington Post – was the result of his cellmate branding him without his knowledge.

He said he had tried to have the ink blotted out.

Jackson claims the tattoo was a prison prank.
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Tammy had taken the day off school to play with her sister Jennifer when she met her tragic fate.

Her family were preparing to move house to a nearby naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, the following day, but on discovering their youngest daughter's blood-covered body on the ground outside their home, their lives changed forever.

The 10-year-old had been playing outside when, on spying the little girl alone as her sister had run inside, Jackson struck.

With their father away at sea at the time, Tammy's mother was the one who discovered her bloodied body on the ground.

Jackson had been living next door to the Welch family. He claims he was asleep at the time of the murder.

A court previously ruled he would stand trial despite uncertainties surrounding his mental health.

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