CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — The former Chicago Department of Public Health official convicted of killing a cab driver six years ago has been paroled.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Steve Miller reports, Michael L. Jackson, 43, was paroled on Friday, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections Web site.
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He was sentenced in September 2006 to 15 years in prison, after being convicted of second-degree murder in the violent death of cab driver Haroon Paryani back in February 2005.
Prosecution witnesses testified at trial that said Jackson ran over Paryani with his own cab three times after a fight over a fare escalated in the 500 block of West Briar Place, in the East Lakeview neighborhood near Belmont Avenue and Broadway.
But Jackson testified he was afraid for his life at the time after Paryani allegedly assaulted him, used anti-gay slurs, punched him in the eye and threatened to kill him when Jackson argued over the $8 cab fare that he thought should have been $4.
Jackson says he intended to flee from Paryani and was not aware that Paryani was beneath the cab when he ran him over. Jackson also said he had been drinking that night.
After first being charged in Paryani’s slaying, Jackson was released on bond. But he was placed back in custody and held without bond after being accused of assaulting a nurse.
Authorities said on April 10, 2005, Jackson suffered an apparent overdose and was hospitalized in Downers Grove. When a nurse asked him to lie down, police say he swung at her then spat blood at her, saying, ‘here’s some HIV for you.’ That resulted in the assault charges. Those charges were later dropped, according to court documents.
Jackson had worked for the Department of Public Health as a policy and communications specialist with the health department’s sexually transmitted disease/HIV/AIDS division but was fired after he was formally charged. He had also been a fundraiser for HIV and AIDS treatment. He helped create the Hearts Foundation, a fundraising arm for HIV/AIDS service organizations.
Paryani, a Pakistani immigrant who had been in the U.S. since 1971, is survived by a wife and four children.
Following the incident, some people defending Jackson distributed flyers in the Boystown neighborhood and put up a Web site asking if Paryani had been violent. The Web site was later taken down, and another one, that in turn asked for information about Jackson’s past.