TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — From the beginning, Jennifer Battles felt her daughter was dating the wrong man.
Javona Glover was a 23-year-old loving mother and devoted daughter.
But when Glover was stabbed and killed in broad daylight – at the hands of the father of her 2-year-old daughter, police say – it was the culmination of years of strife and struggle between the young couple.
Battles said her daughter tried to break off the relationship. But each time, Glover’s longing for a strong family for her child, and the possibility that she and Tavon Jackson could reconcile, brought him back into her life.
“No one deserves to lose their life for loving the wrong person. He is to blame, not her,” Battles said. “Her only crime was loving him. That’s the only thing my daughter is guilty of. And not leaving, maybe, sooner.”
Battles watched the couple’s relationship through ups and downs. She took care of Glover and her granddaughter Ja’Nya when things were bad.
Glover, who was Tallahassee rapper T-Pain's niece, met Jackson while she attended Tallahassee Community College. At the time, Jackson was a student at Florida A&M University.
He worked hard at the Florida State University library. He had a car, but Battles said she was wary.
“He always just had this void look in his eye. I don’t know what it was,” she said. “He treated her nice at first. She was happy.”
Glover found out she was pregnant in 2013. Hours after Jackson blurted out the news at Thanksgiving dinner, Battles recalled, the couple had their big blowup.
Around 3 a.m. that night, Glover called her mother to the couple’s apartment. She had used a Taser on Jackson and punched him in the eye after an argument. Battles said he had slapped her.
Battles and her younger daughter, now a freshman at FAMU, packed Glover’s belongings. She stayed with her mother for a week. Gradually, she began moving her stuff out and back in with Jackson.
Glover gave birth to Ja'Nya summer 2014. The following Easter, she showed up at her mother's with a knot on her head and a black eye. She said she’d fallen at the club. A month later, the Florida Department of Children and Families called Battles to set up a welfare check on the child.
In 2015, Jackson was arrested on charges of domestic battery after another altercation. The case did not pan out in part because Glover was uncooperative with investigators. She wrote a letter asking that charges against Jackson be dropped.
Prosecutors consolidated the case and Jackson was convicted of pretrial violations for contacting her from jail but not of domestic battery. He was sentenced to time served: 27 days in jail.
Jackson spent time in Orange County Jail after violating the terms of his probation in a robbery case in which he was a co-defendant.
During that time, Glover decided to break things off with him. She moved to her own apartment and kept the location a secret. She started seeing someone else, Battles said.
A week after he got out of jail, it was Ja’Nya’s birthday. Jackson attended the party. Battles said he had become agitated with Glover who was dating someone else and living apart from him. Battles asked her daughter if she’d reconsidered breaking up with Jackson.
“She said ‘no’ but it's Ja’Nya’s birthday and I wanted her to have her family together for her birthday,” Battles said her daughter told her. “She was very, very torn. She was torn between what she thought was being a good mom, which is having a nuclear family, and protecting herself.”
Glover bought a handgun and started taking target practice.
“She finally came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a good relationship, that it wasn’t a healthy relationship,” her mother said.
The day before Glover was killed, she’d told Jackson she was ready to break it off and was seeing someone else. Her mother said he started to call and text her cell phone constantly. He called Walgreens where Glover worked.
Then he showed up at the store.
Glover was stabbed around 10:15 a.m. on Aug. 30. She died at the scene. Jackson, who was captured on the footage from the Walgreens security cameras, fled and remains on the run.
“It was the worst day of my life,” Battles said. “To know somebody deliberately took her life because you don’t want to be with that person anymore, that’s hard. That’s really hard.”
Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads
She is concerned her granddaughter could become a target as Jackson continues to elude police.
Battles, who was a single mother herself, is raising her granddaughter who will grow up without a mother or father. Ja'Nya will forever be the link to her daughter.
Over the past month, her home has been filled with well-wishers offering support. Battles, who signs her emails with “God is love,” leans heavily on her faith.
But she also hopes her daughter’s story helps other women who find themselves in abusive relationships.
“I would want them to learn the difference between obsession and love. There is a difference,” she said. “Obsession will get you killed. Love doesn’t hurt. Love brings you joy and peace."
Follow Karl Etters on Twitter: @KarlEtters
To contact Refuge House, an advocacy group and shelter for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, contact 850-487-8859.