Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Voices: If I don’t forgive him, God don’t forgive me. WITH UPDATE

Curtis Jackson
As I begin writing this, Henry Jackson, Jr., "Curtis" to those who know or blog about him, has roughly two and one half hours, that's about 150 minutes, until the good people of Mississippi tie him down to a table and kill him.
It was November 1, 1990, when Curtis cut some telephone lines and entered a home to take money from the safe he knew was there.  By the time he left, he'd killed four children ranging from 2 to 5 years old, stabbed them to death.  He'd stabbed another so severely that she was paralyzed for the rest of her life.  She recently died. He tied up an adult woman and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck, twisting the knife.  She pretended to be dead.
It was a monstrous crime.
Did I mention that the children were his nieces and nephews, the woman was one of his sisters and the home was his mother's (she was in church at the time)?
As I said, a monstrous crime.
For which Curtis is to be killed at 6 p.m.  About 140 minutes from now.
Thing is, the family, the victim and the survivors, they want to stop the killing.  Keep him in prison, forever.  But no more killing.
From the AP.
Regina Jackson told The Associated Press that she was meeting with Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday and would plead for her brother’s life. She also wrote Bryant a letter last month asking for a reprieve, saying she doesn’t want her brother to get out of prison and that 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.
She told the AP in a telephone interview that she has forgiven her brother over the years. “If they kill him, they’re doing the same thing that he did. The dying is going to have to stop somewhere.”
Governor Bryant can listen.  If not to Regina, then maybe to her sister, Glenda who also lost two children to Curtis's bloody rampage.  With her husband Andrew Kuyoro, Glenda sent Bryant a letter asking him to spare Curtis.
The couple said they have tried for years to understand why Jackson attacked his relatives, and they know their questions may never be answered, but that they surely won’t if he dies.
“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 wrote. “We are not asking you to take pity on Curtis, we’re asking you to show US mercy. We have been through enough.”
Then there's Martha Jackson, Curtis's mother, who was in church when her home became a charnel house. She's forgiven Curtis, she said. 
If I don’t forgive him, God don’t forgive me.
As best I can tell, Governor Bryant has not yet spoken.
130 minutes to go.


The Governor denied clemency.

"I am deeply touched by the requests for clemency by two of his sisters and his brother-in-law. One of these sisters was a stabbing victim, and both of the sisters are mothers of the murdered children,” Bryant said. “However, as governor, I have the duty to see that justice is carried out and that the law is faithfully executed. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones." 
I can't speak for "the victims and their loved ones," but they've spoken for themselves.  Rather than Governor Bryant's "thoughts and prayers," they wanted him to keep their son and brother alive.


  1. The Governor should be ashamed for hiding behind "justice" and "executing the law". The family in this case clearly wanted a life sentence yet the Governor, Prosecutor, and everyone in between hid behind the "State's duty."
    It is unbelievable that the State thinks it knows better than the victims about what justice means.

  2. Of course it works the other way as well. The severely mentally ill or borderline intellectually disabled condemned who faces a family still stricken with grief and anger and continue to push for execution. That is the type of person who might be considered the most appropriate for clemency who would otherwise not be considered if the wishes of the victims' family are the controlling factor. If we're looking at who should be spared, simply from a clemency standpoint, I'm not comfortable with a decision making process that doesn't look intrinsically at the person to be killed.

    *I say all of this as an abolitionist who thinks we shouldn't be having this conversation at all.