A Mississippi man who was previously convicted of brutally murdering his four young nieces and nephews at his mother's home in 1990 was executed on early Tuesday evening, despite pleas from his two sisters and brother-in-law to spare his life, officials said.
Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Christopher Epps said Henry Curtis Jackson, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. local time after being given a lethal injection at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) in Parchman. He said the execution marked the close of Jackson's case.
Jackson was sentenced to death in September 1991 for the November 1990 murders of his nieces Shunterica Lonnett Jackson and Dominique Devro Jackson and his nephews Antonio Terrell Jackson and Andrew Odutola Kuyoro, Jr. at his mother's home near Greenwood in Leflore County.
Investigators said the four children, ages 2 to 5, died of stab wounds to the throat while Jackson's mother was at church. Jackson also stabbed his 1-year-old niece, leaving her paralyzed and in a critical condition until she died in 2009. His 23-year-old sister and an 11-year-old niece were also stabbed but survived without serious injuries.
Jackson surrendered to authorities four days after the brutal murders and confessed. Investigators believe Jackson carried out the killings in order to take money from a safe belonging to his half-brother who was in jail at the time on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and a probation violation.
But despite the horrific nature of the crimes, two of Jackson's sisters and his brother-in-law asked Governor Phil Bryant for clemency. One of these sisters was a stabbing victim herself, and both of the sisters are mothers of the murdered children.
"I have reviewed the facts of this case and the applicable 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. "As governor, I have the duty to see that justice is carried out and that the law is faithfully executed."
Epps said the department executed Jackson as ordered and noted that he had more than two decades to fight the death sentence. "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," he said.
Jackson, dressed in a red prison jumpsuit, did not make a final statement before he was executed.