Witnesses say vigilante is superhero, not murderer

LOS ANGELES – Witnesses took the stand this week in the trial of a vigilante they regard as a superhero with extraordinary abilities but law enforcement officers regard as a murder suspect who allegedly bypassed the legal system to bring criminals to justice.

Dwight D. Jacobs, 38, also known as ‘Nightwatch,’ was arrested without resistance during a raid at a Baldwin Hills home last month after he previously fled police custody after being wrongfully accused of committing a liquor store robbery that he in fact foiled, according to witnesses.

Following Jacobs arrest for the robbery, he managed to escape a Los Angeles police downtown holding facility ‘without detection,’ according to a police report, which set the stage for his recent recapture.

“We cannot have an individual with such unusual … talents … freely roaming our streets,” said Los Angeles police Det. Aria Lopez, part of the investigation leading to Jacobs’ re-incarceration, which was coordinated through federal, state and local authorities.

Jacobs’ trial included one misdemeanor count of prison escape and 12 felony counts of voluntary manslaughter related to his alleged dealings with the Yakuza, a Japanese criminal gang.

A neighbor’s tip led to the re-arrest of Jacobs, who was visiting his brother, Ralph Jacobs, 46, and owns a home on the 4200 block of Don Carlos Drive, according to a police report.

The two brothers were wearing sweats and watching Watchmen when a Los Angeles police special tactical unit forced entry into the living room to regain custody of Jacobs.

Jacobs is reported to have raised his hands in surrender and said, “I am an innocent man who believes in truth, justice and the American way … we’ll see if the legal system does, too.”

Watchmen, a fantasy satire written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Gibbons, is based on a limited DC Comic book series that depicts an alternate history in which superheroes helped the United States win the Vietnam War. Following their successful effort, the superheroes are outlawed and forced to retire, or work for the government.

A film poster depicts has-been superheroes featured in The Watchmen.

A film poster depicts has-been superheroes featured in Watchmen.

Defense’s witnesses take the stand

Jacobs’ trial held downtown included character witnesses Alfi Amar, 47, a contracted chauffeur for Nice Ride Limousine Services and self-described tech geek — and Jack Hilton, 42, a Blackjack Pizza driver and amateur astronomer — both of whom met Jacobs while they were college students attending the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Amar and Hilton shared with the court their experiences with Jacobs and his extraordinary abilities, back when the three men were ‘strapping young bucks’ who used to ‘crash frat parties’ and ‘pick up chicks,’ according to their testimony.

Despite the ‘occasional indulgences and indiscretions’ the three young men participated in when they were together, both witnesses affirmed Jacobs’ overall morality.

“Dwight is a telepath who uses his psychic powers for the betterment of humankind, plain and simple,” said Hilton. “If he is ever presented with an opportunity to use his powers in a way that does not serve this higher purpose, he will not pursue it.”

The witnesses relayed an episode about a trip they took with Jacobs to Cabo San Lucas during spring break in March 1999 in which Jacobs alerted Amar and Hilton to a prostitution ring he sensed that was underway at the beach where they were partying.

“Dwight singled out these young women trying to woo male partygoers,” said Amar. “Jack and I thought they were just friendly ladies when they approached us, but Dwight knew better. He pointed out that they worked in pairs and were stationed in 30-yard intervals along the beach … he cued us into what was really going on.”

Hilton agreed with Amar’s analysis.

“Dwight read these women’s minds, ascertained their true intentions, and spared us from a night of grief and inappropriate man-handling,” said Hilton. “Some of the guys traveling in our party didn’t heed Dwight’s advice. They woke up the next day, bruised and broke. A few of them had the clap.”

Amar said he and Hilton were so impressed with Jacobs’ talents that when they returned to the United States following their trip they wrote a letter to the Central Intelligence Agency in which they exalted their friend’s extraordinary abilities and insisted that he be given a job working as a spy.

“It was a social experiment,” said Amar. “One the one hand, we thought the CIA would be foolish to investigate our claims about Dwight’s psychic powers. On the other hand, we thought the CIA would be foolish if it did not investigate our claims and missed the opportunity to hire a talented fellow like Dwight to serve our country. Really, we were just interested in seeing how the CIA would respond.”

Spring break flings aren't always what they seem, according to some revelers.

Spring break flings aren’t always what they seem, according to some revelers.

Defendant takes the stand

Jacobs testified to the veracity of the story his former colleagues shared about the prostitution ring he detected in Cabo, but he neither confirmed nor denied details of the letter they sent to the CIA, or whether or not the spy agency ever responded.

“That information is on a need-to-know basis,” said Jacobs with a wink. “I’m still waiting to see the evidence about the terrible ways I have usurped the authority of the legal system by taking the law into my own hands and bringing outlaws to justice.”

The prosecution delivers star witness

Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Anthony Mendez, prosecuting Jacobs, presented Yuki Ishikawa, 58, the listed owner of several small sushi restaurants in Los Angeles and Phoenix, but is believed to have spent the majority of his career as an enforcer for the Yakuza.

Ishikawa made headlines recently with claims that a bar stool at his Scottsdale home functions as an inter-dimensional portal from which he manages to seat some of the ‘world’s greatest villains’ and make them ‘disappear’ on a one-way trip to oblivion.

The prosecution believed Jacobs used any powers of suggestion he might have to help lure criminals to Ishikawa’s home, and together the two men transferred the criminals ‘out of this plane of existence’ by murdering them.

Legal experts said Mendez presented Ishikawa to the court in the hopes he would testify about his illegal partnership with Jacobs and the murders they allegedly coordinated together.

In exchange for Ishikawa’s cooperation, legal experts said Ishikawa likely expected leniency from the court related to his ongoing legal troubles.

However, Ishikawa provided the court with a different story than the one the prosecution anticipated.

“I’ve never seen that man until today, and I never had any business dealings with him whatsoever,” said Ishikawa, pointing at Jacobs. “However, now that we have been introduced, let me take this moment to say, sir, I am a big fan of your work …”

Mendez slammed his fist on a table and requested a court recess, which the judge allowed.

Closing arguments are made

Mendez returned after a 30-minute recess to conclude his case, during which he attempted to downplay Jacobs’ integrity and abilities, extraordinary or otherwise.

“Some in this courtroom would like to believe that identifying a few hookers in Cabo requires extraordinary power,” said Mendez. “My question to you is, what is so extraordinary about it? How many of you have been to Cabo during spring break? I have, long ago, and I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, hookers on the beach are commonplace and tough to miss.”

In addition, Mendez indicated that the efforts of Amar, Hilton, and Ishikawa, while intended to support their friend, were misplaced and served only to weaken Jacobs’ defense, since all three men proved to be untrustworthy witnesses.

“Mr. Amar achieved local notoriety after he crashed his car into a house on his street after he briefly lost his mind after mistaking a series of synchronized advertisements as evidence that computers had achieved superior intelligence over human beings, which caused panic and mayhem one Sunday morning throughout his Granada Hills neighborhood,” said Mendez.

“As for Mr. Hilton, he enjoyed his own 15 minutes of fame recently after spreading rumors in Tucson that alien beings not only inhabit Mars, but deliberately conspire to keep human beings from learning about their existence, all in an effort to deter human beings from colonizing and ruining their planet …

“Finally, Mr. Ishikawa — a former enforcer for an infamous criminal syndicate who is believed to have murdered countless men — doesn’t have a stool to sit on, so to speak, and especially one that causes a rift in the space-time continuum that makes his victims ‘disappear’ … he is cold-blooded killer, plain and simple …

“Clearly, all three of these witnesses have little to offer the court, except misinformation.”

Jarome Lamb, Jacobs’ attorney, noted the prosecution failed to provide evidence that Jacobs was implicated in any serious crime, let alone had extraordinary abilities.

“The only thing we know about Mr. Jacobs for sure is that he managed to get out jail of his own volition for a robbery witnesses said he didn’t commit, and he did so without harming anyone else in the process,” said Lamb. “That doesn’t mean he has psychic powers or an accessory to murder, only that he is able to outsmart police.”

Even if Jacobs did have ‘super powers,’ Lamb argued that the prosecution was unable to prove Jacobs used them in a way that circumvented traditional legal authority through vigilantism.

Therefore, the prosecution’s case was based mostly in hearsay, Lamb argued, and as a result, he told the jury that the case should be dismissed.

“If my client is guilty of anything, it’s his ability to give authorities the benefit of the doubt time and again,” said Lamb. “The government is only now getting around to responding to the letter Mr. Amar and Mr. Hilton sent nearly twenty years ago, and the return message to Mr. Jacobs is clear,” said Lamb. “The government is threatening to throw my client in prison if he refuses to cooperate and demonstrate what he can — or can’t — do. That’s not truth, justice or the American way. It’s just bullying and poor sportsmanship.”

Jury delivers the verdict

The jury deliberated the case for 15 minutes. It found Jacobs not-guilty on all 12 felony counts and guilty of one misdemeanor count for his jail escape.

“I love this country, and I love it even more when justice is served, as it was today,” said Jacobs to reporters as he exited the courtroom with a grin. “And to think, it didn’t even require the use of any super powers, only common sense.”

Chuck Tripee, March 12, 2019

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