Teenage girl accused in shootout with Florida deputies appears in court

A Florida girl who is accused of firing at Volusia County sheriff's deputies during a standoff in June 2021 was in court on Wednesday. Deputies said they were forced to shoot at the teenager after she first fired at them during a shootout. 

Nicole Jackson, 15, is charged with the first-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.  She was offered a plea deal but turned it down and will now be tried as an adult. The trial she requested is moving forward, though defense attorneys asked a judge for more time to work on the case, against the state’s wishes.  

Investigators said Jackson, who was 14 at the time, and a 12-year-old boy ran away from their foster home, broke into a home in Enterprise, and started shooting at responding deputies with guns found in the house. Back in April, the state told Jackson a plea offer was still on the table, which would have been 20 years in prison followed by probation. 

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A judge also reminded her a trial could expose her to a life sentence.

"If you were to be convicted as charged, you have a possible life exposure which would mean the rest of your natural life would be served in prison," the judge told Jackson. "Do you understand that?"

However, Jackson said she still wanted to move forward.

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In March, the boy had entered a no-contest plea to the charges that included the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.  A judge sentenced him to a maximum risk assessment program followed by conditional release, not to exceed his 21st birthday. 

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said his deputies did everything possible to not open fire on the children, including taking multiple rounds themselves.

"Don’t make me do this! Don’t do this!" Sergeant Don Maxwell can be heard saying on his body camera.

Sgt. Maxwell, who took cover behind a tree during that shootout, was also in court on Wednesday.  

A judge decided to issue a continuance and bring both sides back in August to set a trial date.