*”I’ll go to my grave saying that she could swim because Delores could swim.” In spite of Jackson 5 member Tito Jackson’s declaration that his ex-wife Dee Dee Jackson never learned how to swim, Don Bohana, the wealthy L. A. businessman and her then boyfriend of 12 weeks, told 20/20 he’d die in prison before saying he killed her.
In 1994, Bohana was convicted of killing Dee Dee Jackson; who had reportedly made a surprise visit to his home around 11 p.m. on Saturday night. Bohana, handsome and respected in the Los Angeles community, had built his success running hospitals and insurance companies.
Jackson had divorced her famous husband; with whom she had three boys, when she met and started dating the dashing businessman who was 20 years her senior.
After Jackson drowned in Bohana’s pool, the famous family hired attorney Brian Oxman to have Bohana charged with her death. Oxman also filed a wrongful death lawsuit of her three sons behalf.
But you know where money goes, woes often follow.
In the lawsuit, Oxman claimed Bohana was bankrupt and deeply in debt. He theorized that the once wealthy businessman had actually turned to Dee Dee Jackson for help, and that she had become furious that he’d asked her to bail him out — and a fight had soon followed.
“Hell will freeze over before I admit I did something I didn’t do. –Don Bohana
But deputy district attorney Lori Jones, who built the case that led to Bohana being charged, said there is no proof of that theory.
She did, however, double back much later and had the death — previously noted as “undetermined” by the coroner, re-examined and upgraded to “homicide.”
This happened two years after Dee Dee’s death.
In a jailhouse interview over the phone recently, ABC‘s 20/20 spoke to Bohana (scroll down for Part 1 of the video). Bohana, now in his 80s, has been in prison for 19 years and according to ABC News is preparing to petition the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office 2-year-old Conviction Review Unit in hopes of having his conviction overturned.
ABC News reports even with Bohana about to petition the review unit regarding his conviction, his family remains in anguish that the octogenarian may die behind bars.
He told “20/20” Dee Dee Jackson’s death still pains him to this day.
“I am responsible and it just pains me very much,” he said. “Had I not been drinking, there’s not a doubt that I would have been able to save her.”
Part 1: The Death of Dee Dee Jackson