Surprise Guilty Plea In Cass County Rape Case

A Cass County rape trial has been ended early after the suspect confessed and pleaded guilty Wednesday morning. The Cass County Prosecutor’s office tells WSJM News 21-year-old Markal Leneal Jackson, of Benton Harbor, halted the proceedings just as an investigating officer was about to testify. He’s pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct. It’s alleged Jackson raped a 13-year-old girl while staying at her family’s Dowagiac home last March. The victim testified she’s viewed him “as a brother.” Jackson is now scheduled to be sentenced August 4.