© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jackson's suicide note said he feared losing his job

Jefferson County Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker talks with the press Tuesday.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Before shooting himself, Spence Jackson, spokesman for the Missouri auditor, tried to make clear why he was ending his life.

Wrote Spence in a note: "I'm so sorry; I just can't take being unemployed again.”

The note was dated "3-27-15" at the top.

His words were made public Tuesday by Jefferson City police Capt. Doug Shoemaker, who disclosed the preliminary results of the probe into Jackson’s apparent suicide.

"That is the note in its entirety," Shoemaker said.  "I will not provide a copy of that note, no pictures of the note, and that's all that's contained within the note itself."

Shoemaker also told reporters that Jackson died from a single gunshot wound to the head, information he did not supply on Monday. He would not elaborate on specifically where the entry wound was located.

Jackson’s body was found in his apartment Sunday night, but authorities believe that he shot himself days earlier.

Jackson took the day off on Thursday, Shoemaker said. He had a "partial" workday on Friday and left at noon.  Authorities have speculated that he may have killed himself later Friday or on Saturday.

Jackson, 44, was in jeopardy of losing his job as a result of the Feb. 26 suicide of his boss, state Auditor Tom Schweich. However, Shoemaker says Jackson was still officially employed by the state auditor’s office at the time of his death.

Gov. Jay Nixon has yet to appoint a permanent successor to Schweich.  The day after Schweich's suicide, Nixon appointed John Watson as acting state auditor.  Watson is Nixon's former chief of staff and a long-time aide dating back to Nixon's days as attorney general. 

Jackson, a respected Republican activist, had been Schweich’s spokesman for several years. Jackson earlier worked for Gov. Matt Blunt and for Republican state Sen. Sarah Steelman during her 2008 bid for governor.

Jackson was among the top employees in the auditor’s office who would be expected to lose their jobs because Nixon is expected to name a Democrat as Schweich’s permanent successor. Watson has not said if  he told some of the auditor's employees that they were losing their jobs.

Although most of the jobs in the auditor’s office are not deemed political, Jackson’s job was among the handful of “at will’’ employees who would likely be replaced by a new auditor.

Jackson had been upset by Schweich's death. At Schweich's funeral, Jackson called for the ouster of state GOP party chairman John Hancock, whom the auditor had accused of conducting a "whispering campaign'' alleging Schweich was Jewish. Hancock has denied any such effort.

Follow Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @jmannies  @MarshallGReport

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.