Jackson-Smith now faces January sentencing for strangulation attack

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James Lawrence Jackson-Smith at his trial Dec. 15.

WENATCHEE — Sentencing for James Lawrence Jackson-Smith, the Michigan man who assaulted a Wenatchee hotel worker by strangulation, was pushed back Wednesday until the new year.

A sentencing hearing will now take place Jan. 19, after the state Department of Corrections complete a presentence investigation ordered by Chelan County Superior Court Judge Kristin Ferrera. Such investigations usually include interviews convicts and victims, background an criminal-records checks, and mental health and chemical dependency assessments.

A jury last week convicted Jackson-Smith, 33, of first-degree assault and kidnapping in the May 20 attack on a 23-year-old hotel staffer, but acquitted him on a count of attempted murder. Jurors found after a two-day trial that Jackson-Smith summoned the woman to unclog the toilet in his third-floor room in the Wenatchee Super 8, then strangled her from behind with a chokehold and her own hotel lanyard while she worked.

He claimed self-defense, but the jury rejected that argument. Jackson-Smith now faces an estimated prison term of 14 to almost 18 years.