"All I ever wanted was accountability, for my kids. They ask me why the officer didn't go to jail."
Jessica Dominguez, Jacob’s widow, testified over the span of three days of the trial describing the Jacob she and their children knew.
Jessica and Jacob’s life together
Jacob’s wife, Jessica, returned to the stand this afternoon to give heartbreaking testimony about her life with Jacob and convey for the court the impact of his loss on her family and their young children.
Jessica started dating Jacob when she was 18 and he was 19. She was attracted to how loving and caring he was. “He told me right away I was going to be the mother of his kids and his wife,” she said. One year later, in 2004 they were married while Jacob was in jail. When he first got out from prison, the first and only time Jessica says, he got a violation for something minor and was in custody for 10 months. Mr Crowley asked Jessica, “Why did you continue to stay with him?” Jessica responded, “I was in love with him, and I knew he was a good person – he went to prison for stealing a bike, he never hurt anyone. He’s not violent, he didn’t have guns.” From 2011 to 2017 Jacob was not in jail, in 2012 he got off probation.
In 2010, the couple had their first son, named Jacob. Both Jessica and Jacob grew up without fathers and didn’t want that to be the case with their own children. They wanted a big family with 7 kids - the same number of children Jessica’s grandmother had. In 2012, another son was born followed by a daughter in 2013. Jacob just wanted to be a family man, he helped with the chores, with the kids he wanted to be with the family. Jessica’s dream was to be a nurse and Jacob supported her in reaching that goal.
From 2014 to 2016 Jacob worked as a glazer, installing windows. It was a job he loved and was proud of. He was made foreman and led his crew. When he got laid off in 2016, he tried to find other work, but he was judged for what he looked like and he got depressed, not able to find work after he had been the sole provider for his family. They tried to look at it as a positive, and take it as an opportunity that Jacob could spend more time with the children.
They would both face another difficult loss during the same time. Jessica and Jacob were expecting their 4th child, but they lost the baby. They coped with it together, but the toll was too much. Jacob started drinking and later recognized he couldn’t stop on his own. He wanted to enter a men’s home for recovery.
In May 2017, Jacob entered a men’s Christian recovery home. He loved it there at first, said Jessica. After the first 30 days they were able to visit him as a family, they met Wednesdays for church. Their plans were to move to Ohio after Jessica finished nursing school. Jacob would finish the 6 month program so he wouldn’t relapse. They were going to move in with Jacob’s uncle and grandpa while they found their own place. Jacob has visited Ohio before and described it as peaceful, it would be far away from any temptations and his uncle would have a job for him.
The many photographs Mr. Crowley presented showed Jacob in all the important moments of family life - anniversaries, celebrations, outings, vacations - up to weeks before he was killed. He was a family man, he loved his children and was changed because of them. The month before his death he was at his daughter's birthday celebration.
Asked about her challenges, Jessica said through tears, “I have challenges every day because I have to raise my kids by myself. There’s nothing I can do to bring their dad back. They cry for him still. They ask me why did he have to go?”
City attorneys shameless with their cross-examination
During the cross examination of Jessica, City attorneys continued their criminalization of Jacob. We’ve learned Pina’s actions were unjustified and reckless, defying the department’s own protocol. The City attorneys are justifying Pina’s actions with stereotypes to fear monger and shameless questions into their relationship as a married couple. Jacob and Jessica may have been struggling in the months leading up to his death, the city attorneys brought up as many private details as they could in an attempt to shame the couple and justify a murder. The facts are that Jacob had no criminal charges against him the day he was killed: he had a parole violation back in 2011. “If Jacob did something wrong that’s why we have a legal system. He should have been apprehended safely,” Jessica said. She went on to talk about how all the time she and Jacob were together, because of the way he looked they were frequently stopped by police. “He never once did not cooperate with them. He even got beat up once by police officers.”
Jessica bravely stood up for Jacob and her family in the face of such nasty and shameless questioning from the city attorneys. “Jacob wasn’t a harmful monster like they’re portraying - he was loving, respectful - he would take the shirt of his back for anyone.” Jessica’s attorney followed up on the city attorney’s questioning, “Did your struggles as a couple change your commitment to the marriage?” Jessica responded: “No. For all the years we were together (since age 18/19), we overcame every flaw and challenge. That’s how strong our love was to each other. Nobody’s perfect - he loved me and our kids - that’s all that matters, we would have overcome anything.”