A Novato man with seven DUI convictions was sentenced to six years in state prison on Thursday.

Johnny Lee Jackson, 64, was arrested on Sept. 11, 2011, after getting into an argument at a bar, driving off and crashing in Nicasio.

That occurred about five months after Jackson was released from prison after a five-year sentence for felony DUI, said Deputy District Attorney Geoff Iida.

Jackson has been to prison seven times, Iida said.

The latest case was set to go on trial in August, but Jackson took a plea offer and admitted to DUI with the prior convictions, plus a charge of driving while his license was suspended for DUI.

The plea agreement capped the possible sentence at seven years; under the initial charges, he could have faced up to 10 years.

His lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Pedro Oliveros, asked the judge to place Jackson on probation because of his medical condition. Jackson is suffering from heart disease that keeps him nearly wheelchair-bound, and that he might also have lung cancer, Oliveros said.

"We're deeply disappointed that Mr. Jackson is going to state prison rather than receiving medical treatment," he said.

Oliveros also said that Jackson's first DUI occurred shortly after his daughter was killed in a 1991 bomb attack in Egypt, an event that set off the alcohol abuse.

"He feels responsible for her death because he allowed her to go to Egypt but his wife did not want her to go," Oliveros said. "He never received mental health therapy to address his feelings and used alcohol as an escape."


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Jackson was sentenced by Judge Andrew Sweet.

Contact Gary Klien via email at gklien@marinij.com.