15-year-old girl takes plea deal in shootout with Volusia deputies

Nicole Jackson sentenced to 20 years in prison, 40 years of probation

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A 15-year-old girl involved in a shootout with Volusia County deputies in June 2021 accepted a plea deal Friday afternoon.

Nicole Jackson pleaded no contest to the charges against her, meaning she did not admit guilt but may be sentenced as though she had.

The change of plea comes after Jackson appeared in court Friday morning after filing a motion to get rid of her lawyers.

According to the plea deal, Jackson will face 20 years in prison followed by 40 years of probation. The state attorney’s office said Jackson pleaded to other pending charges of malicious or intentional burning of lands and criminal mischief from Flagler County.

“You can’t shoot at the police, you just can’t do it,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said following the hearing. “Somebody has got to stand up for law enforcement. We are not punching bags. It doesn’t matter what the age is.”

News 6 had previously not named Jackson because of her history of mental health issues, but we reversed course because she was charged as an adult and she took responsibility in the shooting.

“She sends me letters occasionally and I think those letters show that she needs a lot of help,” Chitwood said. “I think she’s on the right path now with what they’re doing, to be honest. She’s getting some good care there. She’s on medication from what I hear.”

Prior to her change of plea, the teen filed a 33-page motion, with the help of a supporter, citing several issues with her public defenders. She asked for either the chance to raise money and hire a private lawyer or permission to represent herself.

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In previous court appearances, the girl has asked the judge to represent herself.

Earlier this month, Jackson had rejected the state’s plea deal of 20 years in prison followed by probation. Had she gone to trial, Jackson faced a possible life sentence, if convicted. Her trial was set to begin in February.

Jackson, who was 14 years old at the time of the shootout, is one of two foster children accused of breaking into a home and using guns inside to fire at the deputies who responded to the scene in Enterprise.

A 13-year-old boy, who was 12 at the time of the shooting, was with the teen and entered a no contest plea deal in March.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said the two opened fire on deputies, who were shot at for about 30 minutes. Eventually, the girl came outside with a shotgun leveled at deputies, according to the sheriff’s office, forcing them to return fire.

No deputies were injured in the shootout, but Jackson was shot in the chest and arm. She was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition, but ultimately recovered.

“(The children) positioned themselves by a bedroom door and from my tactical experience, I was amazed the young lady took the position at the door with a shotgun and it was to the point it looked like she was waiting for our deputies to come in,” said Sgt. Donnie Maxwell, who hid behind a tree as he was fired at.

Records show both children have histories of mental health issues and have been held for psychological evaluations several times under the Baker Act.

News 6 initially decided to name and show pictures of the 12-year-old and 14-year-old due to the seriousness of the incident and the charges they face. However, after learning of their mental history, News 6 decided not to name them in previous coverage. The boy’s case was ultimately handled in juvenile court. As such, News 6 continues to omit his name from coverage.

A 14-year-old girl accused of breaking into a home and using guns inside to shoot at Volusia County deputies made her first appearance before a judge on Tuesday from a bed. Deputies said she is still receiving medical care at a juvenile detention facility.

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About the Authors:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.