On August 27, 2008, Tefft, along with forensic specialist Dorie Savage, flew to Texas to interview Metcalf about the murder, according to court documents. Assisted by members of the Texas Rangers and other local law enforcement agents, the San Diego officers obtained a warrant from a Henderson County judge and headed over to Metcalf’s house at 21266 Easy Street.
The officers served the warrant and had Metcalf accompany them to the local sheriff’s station, where they obtained DNA and handwriting samples, along with his finger- and palm prints. Metcalf agreed to an interview, telling Tefft that he was in the Navy in 1965 and stationed in San Diego until he was discharged due to a medical disability. Following his discharge, he said he would occasionally visit his uncle who lived in San Diego, but he wasn’t certain of the time period.
The detective got to the point: your fingerprints were found at a murder scene and in the victim’s vehicle. Tefft showed Metcalf the Calexico pawn slip signed “Gerald Jackson” and pointed out that the signature looked very similar to his own.
Metcalf agreed the signature had a strong resemblance but said he didn’t know anyone named Gerald Jackson. He also explained he had memory problems and had no recollection of any incident in San Diego in 1971.
“Do you remember killing a man in San Diego?” Tefft asked.
“Not that I recall,” Metcalf said.
When asked about the 1984 murder charge, Metcalf said he did remember that incident and pointed out that it was a case of self-defense. Then he ended the interview.
Tefft accompanied the Rangers on the ride back to Metcalf’s house. As Metcalf climbed out of the unmarked vehicle, Tefft told Metcalf he would be in town for another day. Tefft asked if he could give Metcalf a ring the next day, and Metcalf agreed.
Metcalf’s wife Barbara answered Tefft’s 9:00 a.m. call and opened up to the detective. She said that she and her husband had talked throughout the previous evening, and she knew the matter was serious, but he didn’t tell her why he was being investigated. He’d been waiting for Tefft’s call, she said, so the detective asked her to put Metcalf on the phone.
“I never told anyone about what happened in San Diego,” he admitted. Before Metcalf could get too far into his story, Tefft asked if he could drive over and continue the conversation in person. Metcalf agreed and invited him over.
Metcalf was waiting outside when the officers arrived and quickly confessed to killing Jackson, according to court documents. He didn’t remember the date, but he recalled how cold it had been the night Jackson picked him up at Horton Plaza. He said the only reason he agreed to go with Jackson to his Pacific Beach apartment was that he was cold, tired, and hungry. At the apartment, Jackson fed him, and the two started drinking scotch. After a few drinks, Metcalf said he was ready to call it a night, but Jackson wanted to move things into the bedroom. Metcalf said he offered to sleep on the couch, but Jackson insisted he sleep in the bed. Metcalf admitted to undressing and climbing naked into bed with Jackson.
“[He asked me to] go down on him,” Metcalf said, and he said that he’d refused.
After he’d turned down Jackson’s sexual request, Metcalf said, Jackson got up from the bed, left the room, and returned with a knife.
“I was in for the fight of my life,” Metcalf told the detective, but he said he blacked out during the struggle. Metcalf said when he came to, Jackson was dead. In a panic, Metcalf said, he grabbed the keys to Jackson’s Torino and fled the apartment, heading east on Interstate 8. He said he abandoned the car and disappeared by taking a job with a group of traveling magazine-subscription salesmen. The job took him through the Southwest, and he stayed on long enough to make it to Texas before quitting and getting on with his life.
When Tefft pressed him about the missing wallet and stereo, Metcalf said he had no recollection of stealing anything. Like the 1984 killing, Gerald Jackson’s death was also a case of self-defense, Metcalf said, and he had a scar on his leg from the knife attack to prove it.
Was the cut ever treated? Tefft asked.
No, Metcalf said, and he became evasive when Tefft asked him to change into shorts so he could photograph the scar. Maybe the scar had disappeared or moved, he said. Metcalf eventually agreed to put on a pair of shorts, but he couldn’t find the scar. “It’s not there,” he said, scanning his legs, but he changed his mind when he found a small scar on his left leg above his ankle. He admitted that he received no other wounds from the knife fight. Tefft pointed out that Jackson was stabbed more than 50 times and had no defensive wounds on his hands.
The two San Diego officers wrapped up the interview and returned to San Diego the next day to submit the palm prints, DNA, and other evidence they’d collected to the San Diego Police Department’s crime lab. Approximately two weeks later, the lab confirmed that blood found in Jackson’s apartment and on the Nivico receiver matched Metcalf’s. Criminalist Tammy Ballard confirmed that Metcalf’s DNA was on a cigarette butt collected at the crime scene. A warrant was issued for Metcalf’s arrest, and the Texas Rangers picked him up on October 13, holding him for extradition to San Diego for trial.
On the day of Metcalf’s arrest, the San Diego Police Department issued a press release announcing that Gerald Jackson’s 1971 murder had been solved.
“The case is fascinating,” says Metcalf’s public defender, Gary Gibson. “Some of the people are deceased. Obviously, when you’ve got a 37-year-old case, there are going to be dead [witnesses]. The police actually did a very thorough investigation back in 1972, but the overall case is not entirely difficult to put together. Mr. Metcalf did state to police officers that the person that ended up being stabbed in the case picked him up on the street, took him to his house, and tried to rape him.”