Blue Ridge Parkway shooter Jackson gets life sentence


Yesterday, 57-year-old Ralph Leon Jackson was sentenced in federal district court to life in prison for his brutal attack on two area residents who stopped to watch a sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy said that the "random nature" of Jackson’s assault "caused fear among many people, particularly those who enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway." The sentence, continued Heaphy, means that Jackson "will forever remain where he belongs—inside of a federal prison."

Jackson pled guilty to the premeditated murder of 27-year-old Charlottesville resident and WNRN DJ Tim Davis, for which he received a lifetime imprisonment sentence. For three additional charges—the assault of then-18-year-old Christina Floyd and two firearm-related charges—Jackson also pled guilty and received an additional 35 years, to be served consecutive with his life sentence. The assault charge brought a 20-year sentence, to be served concurrent with his life sentence.

Asked about Jackson’s motivation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Huber told the Roanoke Times that prosecutors "have never been able to figure that out." In published reports, Floyd said that Jackson told her he attacked because he was "crazy." In documents, Jackson has attributed his "fuzzy" mental state to male enhancement medication and claimed that he thought  Davis was his son-in-law, and was mistreating Jackson’s daughter.