Slain Girl Remembered At Memorial Service

WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) - Her high school bandmates sat in the choir box and church youth group members wore T-shirts with Kristen Jackson's picture as a chapel overflowed Saturday with mourners for the 14-year-old, who was killed after disappearing from the Wayne County Fair.

People streamed into McGaw Chapel even after the memorial began.

Kristen's family sat in the front row, near youth group members whose shirts each had a large photo of Kristen on the back and the phrase "In memory of Kristen Jackson." Afterward, the youth released balloons.

Photographs from Kristen's childhood were projected on a screen, and her marching band director from West Salem Northwestern High School described her shy nature and winning smile.

"It was an absolute honor to be part of the Jacksons' lives today and to show the world the integrity and the honor of Kristen Jackson," said Joe Rubino, her youth pastor.

Kristen (pictured, above) was last seen about 9 p.m. on Sept. 9, when she left her sister and a group of friends to meet her parents at the fair's front gate. Days later, investigators recovered her severed head and limbs.

"One can only begin to imagine the horror of this tragedy," said her uncle, Mike Jackson, after the memorial. "In decent people, the mind will just simply not allow you to go there."

The only suspect in Kristen's death, 46-year-old Joel D. Yockey, is jailed on a parole violation. Yockey was released from prison in March after serving 15 years for raping a 17-year-old girl in 1986. Prosecutors said he violated his parole if he associated with minors at the fair.

He was living with his parents west of Wooster, 50 miles south of Cleveland. Kristen was known to visit a friend whose family lived next door.

Yockey was denied parole three times since 1993, but was released after a unanimous vote by the state parole board, the Akron Beacon Journal reported Saturday. The board said his treatment was successful.

"There are three levels of treatment in the program, and the final level is the after-care phase, where you really see the benefits of the program," said Raymond Capots, acting chair of the Adult Parole Authority. "We thought he did a pretty good job completing that."

Capots said the board feels "very badly."

"We don't have a crystal ball," Capots told the newspaper. "We wish we did, but we don't."

The board released Yockey, but recommended two years of supervision by his parole officer and continued counseling in a sex-offender program.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)