By Monica Land
PARCHMAN – Despite a last minute appeal to the governor and a plea from his three sisters – including one he repeatedly stabbed in the neck before killing two of her children – Henry Curtis Jackson was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday night at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Jackson, who was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m., declined to make a statement prior to his execution as he lay on a gurney, clad in a red jumpsuit.
Prison officials said Jackson was offered breakfast and lunch, but ate nothing. He made no request for a last meal and he declined a shower and a sedative.
Guards posted outside his cell indicated that Jackson was “talkative” throughout the day, but “somber.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant declined to stop the execution though he said he was “deeply touched” by requests for clemency from Jackson’s sisters and his brother-in-law, the AP reported.
“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.”
MDOC Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said at a penitentiary briefing earlier Tuesday that the inmate acknowledged the crime.
Visitors included Jackson’s 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.
Henry Curtis Jackson’s violent rampage took place on Nov. 1, 1990 at his mother’s home near Greenwood in Leflore County.
Jackson’s mother had gone to church with four of her older grandchildren while her daughter, Regina Jackson, stayed home with her two daughters, 5-year-old Dominique and 2-year-old Shunterica. Four other nieces and nephews: 11-year-old Sarah, 3-year-old Antonio, 2-year-old Andrew and 1-year-old Andrea were also at the residence.
Jackson, known to his family as “Curtis”, cut the outside telephone line and came inside the house. When Regina asked Jackson what he wanted, he told her he had come to get the safe that was kept in their mother’s room.
When Jackson indicated that he’d meant to kill his family on two prior visits, he began stabbing Sarah and Regina in the neck. When Regina tried to defend herself using an iron rod, Jackson picked Andrea up and began using her as a shield. Regina withdrew and Jackson stabbed her again in the neck.
As Regina watched, Jackson picked up her daughter Shunterica by the hair and stabbed her.
Awakened by the commotion, Regina’s other daughter, Dominique, came down the hall calling for her mother. Jackson stabbed her and threw her on the floor. He walked over to Regina and stabbed her again in the neck.
Sarah escaped and told a neighbor of the attacks and an extensive manhunt for Jackson began.
Jackson subsequently surrendered to police and he was convicted on four counts of capital murder of Shunterica Lonnett Jackson, Dominique Devro Jackson, Antonio Terrell Jackson and Andrew Odutola Kuyoro, Jr.
Sarah was so severely injured in the attack that she was a paraplegic until her recent death.
Commissioner Epps said during a press conference following the execution that the evening signified the close of the Henry Curtis Jackson case.
“Through the course of nearly 22 years, death row inmate Henry Curtis Jackson was afforded his day in court and in the finality, his conviction was upheld all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Epps said. “I ask that you join me in prayer for the families…[and] and the entire MDOC family hopes you may now embark on the process of healing.”