Is Tag ‘A Modern Day Romeo and Juliet’ Apt for Nicole Dones and Jackson Powell?


She speaks! O, speak again, bright angel! For though art as glorious to this night, being o’er my head, as is a winged messenger of heaven, unto the white-upturned wond’ring eyes of mortals that fall back to gaze on him, when he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds, and sails upon the bosom of the air.

While a star-crossed teenage couple, Jackson Wayne Powell and Nicole Dones, have returned safely to their respective families in Miami, there are still many unanswered questions regarding what they did and why they did it. Two days after their prom (April 18th), they snuck away and drove 500 miles north to Savannah, Georgia. Jackson did some casual shoplifting at a Sears in a local shopping mall, got caught, and ended up in jail.

nicole and jackson

The romantic angle ends here. Jackson was caught shoplifting some cheap ($40) earrings. One can gather the runaways must have run out of money, but how could purloining these earrings alleviate this cash-flow problem? And where were the teenagers staying in Savannah? And how did the sheriff’s office make the connection that these were the teenage runaways from Miami-Dade?

What caused Jackson and Nicole to pack up their bags, to take Patricia Powell’s 2006 blue Jeep Cherokee, and to flee the scene of their Miami home and high school life? Was the plot to escape hatched at the Senior Prom in a secretive moment of romantic rapture? How could they convince themselves that such a half-baked scheme would be successful?

The parents had been tossing water on the passionate love-birds in an attempt to encourage them to focus more on their studies and their impending graduation. In fact, Angel Dones, Nicole’s father, had conducted a long talk with Jackson and Nicole just a few days before their dramatic departure. Angel thought they had come to an understanding, but this doesn’t appeared to be the case.

And what about Jackson’s previous run-ins with the law? News accounts didn’t flesh this out anymore than by saying he’d been in trouble. What kind of trouble? I heard Jackson’s brother had died in a car crash last year, and this must have made a contribution to his turbulent emotional state, enduring the loss of a brother dying suddenly in senseless violence.

And it sounds as if Nicole’s parents were trying to back him off, seeing how the couple had to sneak around to see one another. Nicole usually went over to the Powell’s house to see him. I’ve been having some trouble making the Romeo and Juliet connection, but am able to see (vaguely) how the Powells and Dones are analogous to the warring Veronian families, the Montagues and Capulets.

But who initiated this characterization of the couple as a ‘modern day Romeo and Juliet?’ And is it a fair comparison, or only a hook to sell more copy? It’s a very clever ploy, I might add. The quote is attributable to Detective Edna Hernandez from the Miami-Dade police (Huffington Post). Naturally enough, this doesn’t mean that she was the first one who said this.

And is the story at its end? Or is it merely in mid-stream? When will the parallels stop with Shakespeare’s play? Paris had banned Romeo from Verona. Did Jackson believe that Angel and Margie had put a ban on him from Miami-Dade?

I’m not functioning in the brick and mortar concrete of reality, that is our real chronicle of two ordinary teenagers who happen to live in South Florida, and who happen to be embroiled in a simple romantic imbroglio. But Shakespeare’s tragedy has hefty legs in an already fertile imagination. Does the balcony scene take place at the Senior Prom?