An alleged complicitor in the murder of Jacob Millison is bound for trial, after sufficient probable cause was found to sustain the case on Nov. 2.

Stephaine Jackson is charged with first-degree murder and multiple other offenses in the death of Millison, her brother, who was reported missing in 2015 and whose remains investigators found last year, wrapped in a tarp and concealed in manure on the family’s Gunnison County ranch, near Parlin.

Prosecutors allege Millison’s mother, Deborah Rudibaugh, shot the 29-year-old man. Although Rudibaugh allegedly confessed and said she acted alone, investigators determined the 97-pound cancer patient was too weak to have perpetrated the crime without help, particularly in moving the 170-pound Millison’s body.

Rudibaugh is also charged with first-degree murder and other offenses. She is set for court Dec. 7, but is “gravely ill,” District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller said. His office and others are monitoring the situation and, with the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office, Rudibaugh’s defense attorney and others, are ensuring she receives appropriate care.

Jackson’s husband, David, is charged as an accessory, tampering with a body, tampering with evidence, concealing a death and abuse of a corpse. He is set for a plea hearing Tuesday.

Stephaine Jackson denies having had a hand in her brother’s death. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation in arrest affidavits alleges she assisted her mother, helped dispose of Millison’s body and lied about it, and further, control of the ranch motivated her participation in the death of her brother, with whom she did not get along.

Jackson on Nov. 1 had a preliminary hearing to weigh sufficiency of probable cause on the felonies charged in the case: murder, tampering with a body, tampering with evidence and five counts of accessory to a crime.

Jackson is also charged with the misdemeanor offenses of concealing a death and abuse of a corpse.

Chief District Judge Steven Patrick on Nov. 2 ruled there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.

“The first-degree murder charged is based on a complicity theory,” Hotsenpiller said.

“We have identified in our complaint that she was a complicitor, that her responsibility for the crime is based on complicity. A complicitor is just as guilty as the person who commits the crime. The theory is you were an accomplice.”

To be an accomplice, a person must have specific intent to promote or facilitate a crime and know that another person intends to commit the crime. Actions of an accomplice include aiding, abetting and encouraging the principal in the crime, or planning it.

“That’s our theory in this case. A lot of the subject of argument in the testimony surrounded the homicide charge and whether evidence showed Ms. Jackson was an accomplice,” Hotsenpiller said.

Jackson is to again appear in court Dec. 4, to enter a plea and have trial set.

She is also set for court that day in a separate case, in which she is charged with witness tampering. Jackson is accused of attempting to get her husband to testify falsely or withhold information after both were arrested in connection with Millison’s death.

This complaint is based on jail phone calls between May. 15 and May 31, when both were held in custody, Hotsenpiller said.

In a third case, set for trial starting next Jan. 7, Jackson is charged with felony menacing, prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment as acts of domestic violence. She is accused of firing a gun in David Jackson’s direction during a 2016 argument at their home.

Katharhynn Heidelberg is an award-winning journalist and the senior writer for the Montrose Daily Press. Follow her on Twitter @kathMDP.

Montrose Daily Press | November 4, 2018
Print or download article