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Duluth murder suspect pleads not guilty

Jamal Tyshawn Jackson1 / 2
Scott Allen Pennington died early Sept. 1 after a shooting on First Street in downtown Duluth. Emma Espejo / Special to Forum News Service2 / 2

A suspect has pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting another man in downtown Duluth over the Labor Day weekend.

Jamal Tyshawn Jackson, 26, of Duluth, is charged with intentional second-degree murder in the Sept. 1 death of 31-year-old Scott Allen Pennington.

Jackson appeared briefly Thursday in State District Court, where public defender Laura Zimm entered the plea on his behalf. Zimm said she would file a motion seeking dismissal of the case for a lack of probable cause.

A criminal complaint alleges that Jackson shot Pennington in the head just before 1 a.m. as the victim stood on the sidewalk amid a crowd of people on the 100 block of West First Street. Prosecutors said there was no evidence of a dispute leading to the incident and called the killing "cold and calculated."

The complaint offered few details of the incident but said numerous witnesses in the area provided descriptions and identification of Jackson. A single spent .40-caliber casing was found on the ground; police said records showed that Jackson had purchased a .40-caliber pistol earlier that year.

Other witnesses told investigators that Jackson had boasted that night about "being strapped," according to the complaint. Jackson turned himself in at the Hennepin County on an unrelated warrant the day after the shooting.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Theresa Neo gave Zimm until Feb. 1 to file a memorandum challenging probable cause. St. Louis County prosecutor Jon Holets will have until Feb. 15 to respond.

Zimm also reserved the right to challenge a search warrant that was authorized to collect Jackson's DNA sample in the course of the investigation.

Jackson continues to be held at the St. Louis County Jail on $750,000 bail.