Justice should be served for Jacobi Terry

Daisy Friedman, Editor in Chief

Over the past 13 months, I have been following the homicide case of Mr. Jacobi Terry, a senior from Omaha Central who was charged with the murder of vape store clerk Bahy Altairi on Oct. 2 of 2019. I spent three months attending his trials, writing articles, and tracking down resource officers, school administrators, and teachers to get more information about Terry. Each person I spoke with told a similar narrative: Terry was a well-mannered kid who made some mistakes. I didn’t want to accept that as the full truth, because it felt like there was something more to the story. 


At the final trial I went to, a licensed therapist outlined for the court that Terry had Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder, a condition similar to autism, along with a slew of other mental illnesses. And yet despite this, the district judge ruled that he would be tried as an adult and sent to prison rather than a rehabilitation facility.  


Throughout the past few months, adults have explained this case to me as a classic example of a young person falling through the cracks. That simply is not an acceptable answer. I don’t want Jacobi’s story to become another statistic. I want people to take stake in his story and realize people don’t have to look like you for you to care about them.  


It has been very interesting to feel so attached to a young man’s story whom I’ve never even spoken to. Jacobi was an outcast, someone you may have not noticed when passing through the halls. His story represents so many other stories of young men who were never given the chance to be someone before society told them who they were.  


Early in September, the Nebraska Supreme Court denied the motion for Terry’s case to be moved to juvenile court. The court said he would not be able to be reformed before he reached the age of maturity and would be a danger to the public. Until prison is a place for rehabilitation, it is not where Terry belongs. His public defender, Tom Riley, is taking the case up with them a second time. To demand Terry’s case be heard by the Nebraska Supreme Court again, contact Judge Francie C. Riedmann at 402-895-9140.