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June 5, 2012

Notable appeal for clemency from victims' family rejected by Mississippi Gov

As reported in this AP article, which is headlined "Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant won't stop execution for 1990 slayings," a plea for mercy coming from parents of children killed by a condemned murderer did not convince Mississippi's Governor to grant clemency on the eve of the execution.  Here are the interesting details:

A Mississippi man who fatally stabbed four young nieces and nephews in a 1990 rampage faced scheduled execution Tuesday evening, despite the pleas of two sisters to spare the brother who murdered their children.

Henry "Curtis" Jackson Jr. was scheduled to die by injection at 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday. Jackson spent the day receiving relatives, including one of the sisters whose two children were kililed and who survived after being stabbed five times. The slain children ranged from 2 to 5 years old and were killed as Jackson allegedly was trying to steal his mother's safe while she was at church.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Phil Bryant declined to stop the execution. The mother of the slain children had asked Bryant to spare their brother.  "I have reviewed the facts of this case and the applicable law," Bryant said in a news release.  "There is no question that Mr. Jackson committed these heinous crimes, and there is no clear and convincing evidence that compels me to grant clemency."

But he said he was moved by the plea of the relatives.  "I am deeply touched by the requests for clemency by two of his sisters and his brother-in-law," Bryant said.  "One of these sisters was a stabbing victim, and both of the sisters are mothers of the murdered children.  However, as governor, I have the duty to see that justice is carried out and that the law is faithfully executed."

Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said at a briefing Tuesday at the Mississippi State Penitentiary that Jackson acknowledged the crime and was talkative and writing letters after visiting with family.  "This is somewhat unusual in that we have family members who are also victims," Epps said.

Among Jackson's visitors at the penitentiary in Parchman were his children, his mother and a sister, Regina Jackson was stabbed five times and survived the attack that killed her two daughters and two nephews.

Regina Jackson met with the governor Monday to plead for her brother's life.  She also wrote Bryant a letter last month asking for a reprieve, saying she doesn't want her brother to get out of prison and that she "just can't take any more killing."

"As a mother who lost two babies, all I'm asking is that you not make me go through the killing of my brother," she wrote....

Regina Jackson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview as the execution date loomed that she has forgiven her brother over the years. "If they kill him, they're doing the same thing that he did. The dying is going to have to stop somewhere."

Another sister and her husband, Glenda and Andrew Kuyoro, also asked Bryant to spare Curtis Jackson in a letter dated May 15. The couple said they tried for years to understand why Jackson attacked his relatives, and they know their questions may never be answered, but that they surely won't if he dies.

"We are the victims in this case, and we are begging you not to let Curtis be killed. You can keep him in Parchman forever, but please don't put our family through this horrible execution," the Kuyoros wrote. "We are not asking you to take pity on Curtis, we're asking you to show US mercy. We have been through enough." Epps said Regina Jackson and the Kuyoros planned to witness the execution.

Jackson has said he doesn't remember stabbing the children, but testimony from his trial describ ed a horrific scene.  He cut the phone line before going in the house, according to the court record.  Once inside, he demanded money and attacked his sister.  One of the children tried to help, but he stabbed her, too.  Regina Jackson tried to fight him off with an iron rod, but he grabbed one of the children and used her as a shield.

UPDATE This local article reports on the completed execution of Jackson (and also notes that Mississippi's next execution is scheduled for next week).

June 5, 2012 at 06:00 PM | Permalink


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federalist, what do you say about cases like this? Your standard pro-death arguments are always centered around the family of the victim.

Posted by: The Death Penalty Sucks. | Jun 5, 2012 10:44:14 PM

So long killer and good riddance. The world is a bit better tonite since you left it.

Posted by: deanO | Jun 5, 2012 11:09:12 PM

Mississippi's Governor recognizes, unlike some others, that the real offense here is one of les majeste and thus the real victim of the crime is the government itself.

Posted by: tim rudisill | Jun 6, 2012 12:54:28 PM

tim rudisill --

"...the real victim of the crime is the government itself."

Just one slight change: The victim of a crime (murder or any other) is the state, not the government.

The whole reason we have criminal law in addition to tort law is that much bad behavior is conceived of as an offense against the community and not just against the individual victim.

That being the case, the views of the victim (or victim's family members), while entitled to respectful consideration, are not dispositive, whether hardline or forgiving. Decisions about criminal punishment belong to the sovereign.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 6, 2012 1:03:46 PM

TPDS, my point about victims' families is that they shouldn't get jerked around by last minute stays. While I care whether they support the death penalty in a particular case, this heinous murder needs to be punished.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 6, 2012 2:26:06 PM

federalist says, "While I care whether they support the death penalty in a particular case, this heinous murder needs to be punished."

Who said if the death penalty weren't used there would be no "punishment"? The mom said, "You can keep him in Parchman forever." Do you consider LWOP non-punishment? Kind of a phony copout, if you ask me.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jun 8, 2012 11:24:09 AM

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