Texas Set to Execute 462nd Person Since 1982; 223rd Under Governor Rick Perry
Today, July 20, 2010 Texas is set to execute Derrick Jackson. He would be the 462nd person executed in Texas since 1982 and the 223rd person since Rick Perry became governor. He would be the 15th person executed in Texas in 2010.
Nearly 22 years after two Houston opera singers were fatally battered and slashed inside their apartment, the man convicted of killing them is set to die Tuesday by lethal injection.
Derrick Jackson, 42, would be the 15th Texas prisoner put to death this year in Huntsville in the nation's most active death penalty state. The execution is scheduled for after 6 p.m.
A Harris County jury convicted Jackson and sentenced him to die in 1998 for the September 1988 murders of Forrest Henderson and Richard Wrotenbery, both 31 and chorus members at the Houston Grand Opera.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Monday rejected an appeal from Jackson's lawyers. They had argued prosecutors improperly withheld some evidence from Jackson's trial attorneys and raised questions about whether Jackson could be mentally impaired and therefore ineligible for execution.
Jackson was arrested in 1992 for three robberies and took a plea bargain that put him in prison for 12 years. He was in prison on those convictions when authorities began looking at him as a suspect in the 1988 slayings.
"I made some bad decisions," Jackson told The Associated Press recently from a tiny visiting cage outside death row.
Carl Wrotenbery of Fort Worth, said the impact of his son's death will "go with me to my grave."
The elder Wrotenbery, a retired library director at Fort Worth's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said he is ambivalent about capital punishment. "When you come to the personal aspect of it, pure logic says for someone to do a crime of this nature, unprovoked — Alan was in the wrong place at the wrong time - it's hard for me to think the death penalty is unjustified."
Wrotenbery said he plans to witness the execution. "I've made my reservation," he said. "I feel like it's my duty as a father and head of the clan. I feel a responsibility to be there and see this done for other family members who, though they may have strong feelings, won't be able. I have no real desire to be there. I don't expect to feel anything different. It's just an unpleasant duty."
Wrotenbery said the case, marked by false investigative starts and long delays, was hard on his family.
Years after Jackson's conviction, the way police handled the case was criticized by Michael Bromwich, the independent investigator hired to review operations of the department's troubled crime lab.
In his 2007 report, Brom-wich found that a technician apparently manipulated lab findings to bolster the case against detectives' prime suspect of the moment.
When an early suspect had Type O blood, Bromwich wrote, the employee neglected to report that Type B blood was found on an apartment door. Only when a charge was lodged against Jackson, who has Type B blood, was the fact added to the report.
In his death row interview, Jackson challenged those fingerprint findings and blasted a series of defense lawyers who, he said, "helped me get down to the execution chamber."
"I don't stay up at night and have nightmares," Jackson said. "I pray for myself. I hate the fact that I'm being blamed and will be killed, but it's more sadness than hate."