Mother of man arrested in mistaken identity case writes book about her quest for justice

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- After reaching out to WHNT to seek help to prove her son's innocence in a case of misidentification, a local woman is taking what she learned from the case and is sharing it with the world.

Tam Jackson contacted WHNT back in March of 2016 to help investigate the claim that her son, PFC. Steven McDowell, had burglarized Huntsville Utilities and A-Pawn Pawn Shop on Blue Spring Road on May 1, 2016. The evidence against McDowell? Surveillance footage of the burglary revealing a man McDowell's former landlord claimed was McDowell.

After a more than three-month Taking Action investigation into the case, prosecutors dropped the charges and arrested a different suspect, Derrick Hines.

Once her son was proven innocent, Jackson wrote a book about the ordeal and the toll the case took on her and her family. One of the messages in the book is to lean into something bigger than yourself. In Jackson's case, that was her faith in God.

She said she faced the fight of her life when her son called her from the Madison County Jail saying he had been arrested and charged with crimes someone else committed. According to Jackson, working to prove that her son was wrongfully accused led to her picking up her pen again.

"As I was going through this, as we were all going through it, the last thing on my mind was writing or publishing or anything. The main thing on my mind was making sure that my kid was okay," explained Jackson.

In her book, Jackson reveals that she never gave up on her son because of a promise she made years ago.

"I told them, if you're guilty, I can't get you out of that. I won't get you out of it. What I'll do is I'll write you. I'll put money on your books. I'll come and visit, you know. But, if you're innocent, I will fight for you until I breathe my last breath."

Jackson added that shortly following the day the charges were dropped against her son she couldn't tell her story to enough people. That's when she decided to write a book about the case from her perspective.

Tune into our special report, Mother of the Accused, Thursday on WHNT News 19 at 10.