PARCHMAN, Miss. – A Mississippi man convicted of killing four young nieces and nephews in a 1990 stabbing rampage was executed Tuesday, despite pleas from his two sisters to spare the brother who killed their children.
Henry "Curtis" Jackson Jr. was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. CDT Tuesday after receiving an injection at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, officials said.
Clad in a red prison jumpsuit as he lay strapped to a gurney, Jackson was asked if he wanted to make a statement.
"No, I don't," he responded as family members sat somberly in a nearby witness room.
Jackson's sister, Glenda Kuyoro, stifled a sob when she walked into the witness room earlier and saw her brother on the gurney. Jackson's eyes were closed when the witnesses arrived and he never looked in the direction of his family.
Earlier, the 47-year-old inmate had spent the day receiving relatives, including one of the sisters whose two children were slain and who survived the stabbing attack. The slain children ranged from 2 to 5 and were killed as Jackson reportedly was trying to steal his mother's safe while she was away at church, court records showed.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant declined to stop the execution though he said he was "deeply touched" by requests for clemency from the sisters and his brother-in-law.
"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," Bryant said.
His statement added: "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."
Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said at a penitentiary briefing earlier Tuesday that the inmate acknowledged the crime and was talkative as he received relatives. Visitors included his sister Regina Jackson, who was stabbed five times and survived the attack that killed her two daughters and two nephews.
Regina Jackson had met with the governor Monday and pleaded for her brother's life. She also wrote Bryant a letter last month saying 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.
Kuyoro and her husband, Andrew, also had asked Bryant to spare the inmate in a letter dated May 15.
"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 had written earlier.
The attack took place Nov. 1, 1990, at Jackson's mother's home in the Delta region.
The mother was at church that day, and Regina Jackson was there with her two daughters and four nieces and nephews. Her two daughters and two nephews were stabbed to death, records showed. Another niece was so severely injured that she was a paraplegic until her recent death.
Jackson has said he doesn't remember stabbing the children, but there was testimony at his September 1991 trial that he cut the phone line before going in the house, then demanded money and began the attack, according to the court record.
Regina Jackson testified at trial that she lapsed in and out of consciousness after being tied up and stabbed in the neck, but she could hear her brother dragging a safe down a hall. The noise awoke 5-year-old Dominique, one of her daughters.
"Regina testified that Jackson called Dominique to him, told her that he loved her, stabbed her, and tossed her body to the floor," according to the court record. "Jackson returned to Regina, stabbing her in the neck and twisting the knife, at which point she pretended to be dead until she heard him leave."
Jackson subsequently surrendered to police. He was convicted of four counts of capital murder at trial and sentenced to death.
Associated Press writers Holbrook Mohr and Emily Wagster Pettus contributed to this report from Jackson, Miss.