Analysis of Noura Jackson’s 911 call

Noura and Jennifer Jackson

On June 5, 2005, around 5.00 am, 18 years old Noura Jackson ran to a neighbor and then made a call to 911.

911: Hello, 911.

Noura Jackson: Please, I need…. I need an ambulance, I need an ambulance right now.

Note that Noura’s first word is “Please”. We always note the use of politeness in an emergency call. 

Note the stuttering “I need”.

Note the repetition ” I need…. I need an ambulance, I need an ambulance”.

911: Ambulance on the line, don’t hang up.

Noura Jackson: (heavy breathing)

911: Fire Department. 

Noura Jackson: My name is…

911: What’s the address of the emergency?

Noura Jackson: 5001 New Haven Avenue.

911: What’s the problem? Tell me exactly what happened.

Noura Jackson: Someone broke into the house! My mom… my mom is bleeding!

Noura’s priority: “Someone broke into the house!”, not that her mom needs medical assistance. Noura’s priority is to built an alibi for herself.

911: Is she breathing?

Noura Jackson: No, she is not breathing… she is not breathing… she is not breathing, please, help me!

Note the repetition “she is not breathing… she is not breathing… she is not breathing”.

Note the word “please”, again. 

Note that her mother is not breathing and she asks for help for herself. 

911: Ma’am was anyone shot?

Noura Jackson: No, but there is blood everywhere, please, I need a police officer, I nee…

Noura Jackson’s mother, Jennifer, had been stabbed 50 times. How Noura knew she wasn’t shot?

Note the word “please”, again.

Note that Noura needs a police officer for herself, not a doctor to take care of her mother.

911: Okay ma’am, and how old is your mother?

Noura Jackson: She is 39 years old. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Please, please, help me.

Note the repetition “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God“. God is invoked but not as testimony witness.  

Note “please” repeated twice, again.

All these repetition, “My mom”, “She’s not breathing”, “I need”, “please” sound more as fillers, she is trying to fill the pause not to be questioned. 

Note “help me”, again.

911: Okay, listen to me, ma’am, I need you to calm down, okay? So we can help your mother, okay?

Noura Jackson: (Inaudible) She is not breathing.

She already said “She is not breathing”, it’s not useful to repeat it again.

911: Okay, listen to me. Did you see what happened?

Noura Jackson: No! No! I just got home.

“No” is repeated to persuade. 

“I just got home” is unnecessary to say, it’s alibi building.

911: Someone broke into your house?

Noura Jackson: Yes, I was going to get my kitten out of the kitchen and there’s glass everywhere, please send an ambulance, please send an ambulance, (inaudible)

Note the repetition of “send an ambulance”.

Note “please” repeated twice, again.

911: We have help on the way, we’re gonna help your mother.

Noura Jackson: Somebody… somebody gotta help me right now!!!

Note “help me”, again.

911: Ma’am, I need you to calm down, so we can help her, okay?

Noura Jackson: (crying)


Deception Indicated

During this short phone call, she repeated the word “please” seven times, showing  an acute needs to ingratiate herself and align herself with the good guys.

She also repeated sentences as “I need an ambulance”, “help me”, “she is not breathing”, “Oh my God”, “send an ambulance” to stall for time to think and also to fill the gaps not to be questioned. Read also Michael Peterson’s 911 call.

During an interview with correspondant Richard Schlesinger (48 Hours Mystery documentary My Mother’s Murder, aired in April 2010) Noura Jackson said “There was blood everywhere. I guess that’s basically the thing that sticks with me. I guess the only thing that was on my mind was that I needed help”, confirming what emerges from the analysis of her 911 call, she was the one in need of help.

She also said to Richard Schlesinger: “My grief was interrupted because you get arrested and you have your back up against the wall and you‘re constantly having, y‘know, to explain “I didn’t do this, I didn’t do this”. You don’t have time to grieve. You have to defend yourself”.

Note that she is unable to take ownership of what she is saying, she is unable to use the personal pronoun “I”. The use of “you” is distancing language that indicates a form of deception. In other words: She is unable to use the pronoun “I” because she would lie and, to avoid the stress of lying, she distance herself from the reality using “you” instead of “I”. 

“I didn’t do this” is not a reliable denial.

Noura Jackson, during another interview with correspondant John Quiñones (20/20 , said: Being incarcerated it’s tough in itself, being incarcerated for something you didn’t do it is… is something else entirely”.

Again, she is unable or unwilling to take ownership of what she is saying. 

Noura Jackson was arrested on September 29, 2005 and charged with second degree murder. She was then convicted of committing matricide and sentenced to 20 year and 9 months with no possibility of parole on March 27, 2009.

On Aug. 22, 2014, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned Noura’s conviction and as she was still charged with murder, the new prosecutor offered her a deal.

On May 20, 2015, after serving nine years in prison, Noura Jackson entered an Alford plea to a charge of voluntary manslaughter in the death of her mother, Jennifer Jackson.

Ursula Franco, MD and criminologist