Two days after a West Side truck driver entered the offices of a downtown law firm and killed three people, the man’s family and acquaintances called him a quietly religious man who for years sought revenge against a lawyer he believed pilfered his idea for a portable toilet.
Brenda Jackson said she only saw her uncle, Joe Jackson, 59, “every so often” when she visited him and her aunt at their apartment in the 5900 block of West Ohio Street. But even in those sporadic meetings, he often spoke about the invention he dreamed up in long hours on the road–a toilet concealed in the seat of a truck cab that the driver could use roadside to save time.
“He told me, `This is a good idea that I came up with,'” Brenda Jackson said Sunday. “He said, `This is what it’s going to take to make this family rich.'”
Joe Jackson’s pastor, Rev. C.L. Sparks, said he went with Jackson a few years ago to meet a patent attorney downtown who he now believes was Michael McKenna, an intellectual property specialist and one of the three men slain Friday.
The pastor recalled that at the meeting Jackson handed McKenna an envelope with $5,000 cash as a retainer.
A spokesman for the Wood, Phillips, Katz, Clark & Mortimer law firm said attorneys there did not know of Jackson until the shootings.
“The attorneys at Wood Phillips have no recollection of any mention of Joe Jackson or having ever seen him before,” Mark Spencer said in an e-mail response to questions from the Tribune. “The first they knew of him was when he came through their door Friday afternoon. It’s unclear if Joe Jackson ever even visited Michael McKenna in their offices at Citigroup Center before that afternoon.