Is Mississippi Safer Because Another Black Man Died?
The man lay on his back on the gurney. A portion of the red prison jumpsuit visible above the edge of the sheet which rose and fell with his breathing.
Four tubes slithered from the wall and disappeared under the sheet.
“Do you have any final words?” a voice said.
“No. I don’t,” replied the condemned.
Sixteen minutes later Henry “Curtis” Jackson, Jr. was dead.
His state sanctioned murder did not make the world safer.
Jackson was declared dead at 6:13 pm in the death house in Mississippi’s notorious prison, Parchman.
With no last statement, his family members could only watch from the witness area.
Glenda Kuyoro, Jackson’s sister, choked back a sob as she shuffled toward the witness room. She looked at Jackson. He didn’t look back; his eyes were shut as the observers came and found their seats. Jackson never looked at his family.
The day had been spent visiting relatives — including the sister whose children were butchered by Jackson as he tried to steal a safe from his mother’s house as she was in church.
Jackson’s brother-in-law and sisters had a meeting with Governor Phil Bryant. While claiming to be “deeply touched,” Bryant refused to stop the execution.
“I have no doubt that Mr. Jackson perpetrated these crimes. There is not any explicit evidence that forces me to give clemency,” Bryant told reporters.
New York criminal defense lawyer Arkady Bukh said that Jackson was effusive as he visited with relatives. His visitors included Regina Jackson, his sister, who was hit over six times and withstood the assault that destroyed two daughters and two nephews.
Regina had appeared before the governor and begged for her brother’s life. She wrote Bryant a letter saying she “couldn’t take any further murder.”
“As a mom who lost two children, all I’m requesting is don’t require that I experience the killing of my brother.”
“We are the victims in this case, and we beg you not to kill Curtis,” wrote Kuyoro and her spouse, Andrew. “You can keep him in Parchman forever; please don’t put our family through this execution.
The murders took place November 1, 1990, at Jackson’s mom’s house in the Delta.
Jackson has claimed not to recall killing the children. His assertion at his September 1991 hearing included the confession that he sliced the telephone wire before going into the house.
Regina Jackson told the court during his trial that she had fallen in and out of consciousness, but she could listen as her brother hauled the safe down a hall. The commotion woke 5-year old Dominique — one of Regina’s daughters.
Jackson vanished for four days before surrendering to law enforcement. At this trial, he was sentenced on four counts of capital murder and condemned to death.