BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A Georgia fugitive who was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” earlier this month was arrested Monday about 150 miles away in Alabama.
Maurice Alexander Nesbitt, 42, of Atlanta, was arrested at a home in the 1200 block of 10th Avenue North in Birmingham, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Nesbitt was convicted in 2017 of the murder of his former girlfriend, 34-year-old Rashawn Jackson.
The fugitive, described by a prosecutor as a “lousy” wanna-be rapper who was an “unemployed drug dealer living off of women,” was caught a week after being featured on “America’s Most Wanted.”
The TV show celebrated the capture Tuesday morning.
“We can mark our catch counter up to 1,190,” producers wrote in a tweet. “Maurice Nesbitt marks the fourth arrest after just five episodes.”
The latest revival of the longtime show premiered in March. The episode featuring Nesbitt was the season finale.
Journalist Elizabeth Vargas, who hosts the revival, also tweeted about the arrest.
“We have another catch!” Vargas exclaimed. “Just days after we aired our story on convicted killer Maurice Nesbitt, a tip led to his arrest. “Thank you to our viewers for helping bring justice to another grieving family!”
A news release from the Marshals Service indicated that Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama received a tip about where Nesbitt could be found. Agents with the agency’s Gulf Coast Regional Task Force set up surveillance at the home.
“Upon further investigation, deputies and task force officers determined that two men were in the residence, with one fitting the description of Nesbitt,” the news release said. “The suspect identified himself as ‘Ricardo.’
“After observing the individual’s tattoos, deputies questioned the suspect’s identity, and he then admitted to being Maurice Nesbitt.”
Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Cliff LaBarge praised the contribution of the tipster who contacted Crime Stoppers.
“Crime Stoppers is a huge asset for us and the entire law enforcement community,’' LaBarge told AL.com in Birmingham. “It gives the citizens of Birmingham and the surrounding metro area an opportunity to help rid their neighborhoods of crime and make their communities safer.”
Nesbitt, an aspiring rapper who went by the name “Mega Ruckus,” was out on bond in September 2017 when he was tried for Jackson’s May 27, 2014, murder. Jackson was shot to death at the apartment she shared with her mother and sister.
Authorities said on the last day of the trial, Nesbitt cut off his ankle monitor and fled. It was several hours before police learned he was gone.
See Nesbitt’s 3D avatar, which includes his distinctive tattoo, below.
Watch the April 12 “America’s Most Wanted” episode here, or stream it on Fox Now or Tubi. The segment featuring Nesbitt starts around the 3:20 mark.
Even in his absence, the jury convicted Nesbitt of felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to life in prison.
“In Pursuit with John Walsh,” which profiled Nesbitt in January 2019, reported that Jackson’s family worried for her safety after she met Nesbitt in 2009. Her sister, LaToya Jackson, told the program’s producers that his attitude toward women could be seen in his rap videos.
Like Griffin, Atlanta police Detective Eugene Johnson, the lead investigator on the case, had nothing good to say about Nesbitt’s prospects as a rapper.
“He was a local guy that produced lackluster rap music,” Johnson said. “He put out what I like to call $2 rap videos. Pretty cheaply made.”
Seleta Griffin, a prosecutor for Fulton County, told the TV show that Nesbitt projected an image of an up-and-coming rapper making a name for himself. That was not the truth about him, she said.
“And Rashawn fell prey to this,” Griffin said. “She fell right into his trap.”
See one of Nesbitt’s rap videos below. Editor’s note: The video contains explicit language.
Griffin also spoke with “America’s Most Wanted” earlier this month. She said Jackson’s sister and mother, Antoinette Jackson, saw the bruises and scars Rashawn Jackson often had thanks to Nesbitt, who controlled her money and her ability to communicate with those around her.
Nesbitt refused to allow his girlfriend to have a cellphone.
In one instance, Griffin said, Nesbitt became so enraged that Jackson had a phone that he forced her to throw it from the car window. He then slammed her head against the dashboard.
Like many domestic violence victims, Jackson stayed with him for a long time. Eventually, after about six years, she had the courage to leave.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, that is one of the most dangerous times for a victim.
Jackson moved in with her mother and sister at the Venetian Hills Apartments in southwest Atlanta. She was dead about a month later.
Antoinette Jackson recalled hearing a loud “pop” around 3 a.m. the day of the shooting.
“When she went downstairs, she heard a car pulling away and found her daughter lying on the ground between a closet and a chair,” according to “In Pursuit.”
She didn’t realize what had happened until she saw the blood. Rashawn Jackson had been shot in the head.
The “In Pursuit” episode featuring Nesbitt’s case is available for purchase from Discovery Communications below. The show can also be streamed on ID Go.
Antoinette Jackson held her daughter while LaToya Jackson called 911.
“What’s the status of your emergency?” a dispatcher asked in audio obtained by both television shows.
“My sister’s been shot,” LaToya Jackson responded, weeping. “I need an ambulance.”
The dispatcher asked if Rashawn Jackson was awake. She was not.
“OK. Is she breathing?” the dispatcher asked.
“No,” LaToya Jackson said.
WSB-TV in Atlanta reported that LaToya Jackson cried on the witness stand in 2017 as she recalled holding her sister’s hand as they awaited the ambulance.
“After a while, the grip from her hand, she just let go,” Jackson testified. “I knew she was gone.”
Authorities quickly focused on Nesbitt as a suspect after a witness remembered seeing his car, a white 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix, at the scene. Security footage showed his car pulling into the apartment complex’s parking lot at 2:41 a.m. that morning.
According to the “America’s Most Wanted” segment, Nesbitt talked Jackson into letting him in, which she quietly did. He and Jackson spent about 10 minutes together before her mother heard the gunshot.
Evidence indicated that Jackson may have been taken by surprise since her family heard no sounds of an argument and there were no signs of a struggle.
By the time Jackson’s sister called for help, Nesbitt was gone. He was seen on surveillance footage casually walking back to his car and driving away.
Nesbitt went into hiding after the shooting, WSB-TV reported. Police found him two months later and took him into custody.
A judge later granted Nesbitt bond. Watch the portion of the segment about Nesbitt’s pretrial release below.
Legal analyst Yodit Tewolde told “America’s Most Wanted” host Vargas that Nesbitt’s attorney claimed his client had cancer when requesting bond. He never had to prove the medical condition to the court.
During the segment, Tewolde pointed out that Nesbitt, who speaks Spanish, could have been hiding in Florida or Mexico City because he has family living in both locations. Some investigators believed, however, that he stayed close to the Atlanta area to remain in familiar surroundings. They suspected he would be living with a woman he was using to “get by,” Tewolde said.
It was not immediately clear who Nesbitt was staying with while in Birmingham, or if they would face charges. He remained Tuesday in the Jefferson County Jail awaiting extradition.
Cox Media Group