HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - We met Tam Jackson when she reached out to WHNT News 19 to request assistance to prove her son's innocence in a mistaken identity case. Now, Jackson is releasing a book to help anyone who will face a similar battle, or any obstacle for that matter.
Police arrested PFC. Steven McDowell on January 27, 2017 and charged him with burglarizing two Huntsville businesses. Two months later, Tam emailed WHNT to help investigate the claims against her son. McDowell always maintained his innocence. The only evidence used to make an arrest was surveillance footage from one of the businesses.
During a months-long Taking Action investigation, prosecutors dropped the charges against McDowell. Instead, they arrested a different suspect, Derrick Hines.
As McDowell walked away from a trial date, Jackson began writing down everything she learned, experienced and suffered through so that other people could glean from her experiences. She has now published the book, Mother of the Accused.
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. There are 165 pages in this book. She reveals how the stress from the case impacted her health, how close the relationship between the real suspect's mother and her was at one time and the struggles Jackson already overcame during her childhood.
Another significant aspect of the story is the promise Jackson made to her sons when they were children.
"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 said her desire to tell her testimony to enough people drove her to write and publish the book quickly. It is available online for the cost of a donation. Just visit the website, motheroftheaccused.com. Jackson said she does not want to withhold the book from someone because they can't afford the price.
Jackson writes on her website:
"Mother of the Accused is available for donation to ensure this book gets into the hands of every one who needs it to help them fight the good fight of faith. As such, there is no specific price for those who wish to purchase but are unable to afford full retail. You may order a copy by making a donation in the amount you can afford plus the cost of shipping."