Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Derrick Jackson was the 462nd person executed in Texas since 1982

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. 

DERRICK JACKSON, 42, was condemned in 1998 for the 1988 stabbing deaths of Houston Grand Opera tenors Richard Alan Wrotenbery and Forrest G. Henderson in their Houston apartment. Jackson, formerly of Missouri City, has insisted on his innocence. He was linked to the slayings by DNA evidence and a bloody fingerprint on the apartment door. The discovery of widespread problems at the HPD crime lab led Harris County D.A. investigators to order the evidence retested.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Texas has executed a man convicted of killing two Houston opera singers nearly 22 years ago.
Forty-two-year-old Derrick Jackson declined to make a final statement before the lethal injection was administered Tuesday. He was the 15th person to be executed in Texas this year.
Jackson contended he was unfairly convicted of the September 1988 fatal beatings and slashings of Forrest Henderson and Richard Wrotenbery. The two 31-year-old men were in the Houston Grand Opera chorus.
The slayings inside Henderson's apartment went unsolved until 1995, when a bloody fingerprint from the scene was matched to Jackson. By then, Jackson already was in prison serving a 12-year term for aggravated robbery.

In this June 9, 2010 photo, Derrick Jackson, 42, sits in a death row visiting cage at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit outside Livingston, Texas. Jackson is set for execution Tuesday, July 20, 2010 for the September 1988 slayings of two Houston Grand Opera chorus members, Richard Wrotenbery and Forrest Henderson, both 31. Wrotenbery was staying at Henderson's Houston apartment following a recent divorce. Henderson was beaten and stabbed in the apparent robbery. Wrotenbery was beaten and had his throat slit.

HUNTSVILLE — Houston killer Derrick Jackson, condemned for the 1988 murders of two Houston Grand Opera singers, went to his execution Tuesday wordlessly, sullenly staring at the death chamber ceiling.
He made eye contact neither with his own family nor with his victims’ relatives, some of whom watched from witness rooms just feet away. The lethal drugs were administered at 6:12 p.m. Jackson, 42, issued a series of deep breaths and closed his eyes.
He was declared dead at 6:20 p.m.
He was the 15th killer to be executed in Texas this year.
Jackson, who also served a prison sentence for armed robbery, was convicted in the Sept. 11, 1988, murders of Forrest Henderson and Richard Alan Wrotenbery, both 31 and opera tenors. Henderson repeatedly was stabbed and bludgeoned; Wrotenbery’s throat was slashed.
Their bodies were found in a Greenway Plaza apartment they shared.
Carl Wrotenbery, Richard’s father, told reporters he was disappointed, but not surprised that Jackson went to his death without making a final statement.
“I would have liked to ask him a question, although there’s not a valid answer,” Wrotenbery said. “Why did you do this?”
In a recent death row interview, Jackson denied that he killed the men.
Jackson’s father, Charles Everline, wept quietly as the deadly injection took effect. Two of his sons, also in the witness room, placed their arms around his back.
“He can’t live like that no more,” one said.
Authorities contended that Jackson murdered his victims after accompanying Henderson home from a Montrose bar.
Friends of the victims said Wrotenbery had house-sat for Henderson while the singer appeared abroad with the opera.
After Henderson’s return, Wrotenbery, recently divorced, continued to live at his friend’s apartment while looking for a new residence.
Wrotenbery, father of a 1-year-old daughter, also taught music at a Deer Park elementary school.

Fingerprint evidence

The murders remained unsolved for seven years, and Jackson was accused only after fingerprints analyzed through a new computer system linked him to the slayings.
Wrotenbery’s father said the years before the arrest were particularly frustrating because he worried other family members would be targeted by the killer.
Shortly after the murders, the Wrotenbery family received several harassing telephone calls.
“We knew someone was out there,” he said, “and were under the shadow or cloud that they might appear again.”
The elder Wrotenbery, a retired librarian at a Fort Worth Baptist seminary, said he was “relieved” the execution had taken place. “It was something that had to be done, ” he said. “I was not looking forward to it ... but it was a sense of duty. I didn’t expect pleasure, and I didn’t receive it.” 

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.
He acknowledged burglaries and robberies but denied involvement in the singers' slayings, blaming his indictment on "aggressive interrogation" by police eager to solve a nearly decade-old double homicide case.
"You know where you were 10 years ago?" he asked. "It's impossible unless you have records. I didn't do it."
He said when detectives asked him about the killings and requested DNA samples from him, he agreed.
"'Y'all can have whatever you want,'" he said he told them. "I want to clear my name."
Houston police detectives working cold cases and using new computer technology were drawn to Jackson in 1995 when a bloody print from a door knob at the murder scene was matched to him. Subsequent DNA testing also pointed to Jackson, confirming the fingerprint evidence.
"If I was in the system with a fair trial, I'd feel a little better," Jackson said from death row.
Bill Hawkins, a Harris County district attorney who prosecuted Jackson, said technology caught up with him.
"The scientific evidence was extremely strong," Hawkins said. "And subsequent defense testing of DNA had his numbers."
Jackson insisted the scientific evidence was manufactured and shaky.
The day of the slayings, Sept. 10, 1988, Wrotenbery and Henderson, both tenors, had been rehearsing for an opera production of Bizet's Carmen.
Wrotenbery, who also was an elementary school music teacher in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, went to Henderson's apartment where he'd been staying following a divorce until he could find a place of his own. Police determined Henderson, who recently returned to Houston after performing with the opera company in Scotland, went to some bars in the city's Montrose area, may have met Jackson there and took him home.
Evidence showed Henderson was stabbed in the chest. Wrotenbery's throat was slashed. Both were bludgeoned with a heavy metal bar that could have been part of a weight set. Wrotenbery may have been asleep when he was killed.
"Killing two guys like that and nothing happened to me? It just don't add up," Jackson said from prison.
The men's wallets were taken along with Henderson's car. A Houston traffic officer tried to pull over the car for speeding but the driver fled, leading police on a chase until the car crashed. The driver managed to run off and escape.
An administrator from the school district where Wrotenbery taught called the apartment manager when the teacher didn't show up for work. The manager found the bodies.
"I remember the deaths were extremely brutal," Hawkins said. "I don't recall handling a case where the scene had as much blood as was there."
Jackson, who was among at least four condemned killers with execution dates in Texas in the coming months, said growing up on Houston's south side put him in the middle of a "crime culture" where many of his friends stole cars and committed burglaries.
"That's what you do," he said. "I could have been a dead a long time ago breaking into people's houses. I count waking up as a blessing. I know a lot of people don't."

Derrick Jackson executed for deaths 
Derrick Jackson Was Executed in Texas on Tuesday July 20 For the 1988 Killings of Forrest Henderson and Richard Wrotenbery
Jackson was already in prison in 1995 for aggravated robbery, when he was convicted in the deaths of Opera singers Forrest Henderson and Richard Wrotenbery. The murders took place inside Henderson's apartment 22-years-ago, but it was not until seven years later when a bloody fingerprint and stains on the bathroom towels from the crime scene was matched to Jackson. 
He has always maintained that manufactured evidence convicted him and that he was innocent of the crimes. 
This is the 15the execution in Texas this year, and although Jackson's legal team launched an appeal on Monday, there was no appeal on Tuesday. 
The Associated Press spoke to Jackson while he was on death row:

"It's not scary, as in fear," Jackson told The Associated Press in a recent interview from death row. "It's more a reluctance that it had to come to this. I don't want to die. but it's not like I'm scared to die.
"It's like you have terminal disease for a number of years and finally they say you're not going to be able to live with it any longer so you're going to have to get your affairs together with your family and within yourself."
He was arrested in 1992 for three robberies, but says he never killed the men who he allegedly met that night. 
Henderson was found stabbed in the chest, while Wrotenbery had his throat slashed. Both were also bludgeoned to death with a heavy metal bar. Both were robbed of their wallets and Henderson's car was also stolen. Jackson led the police on a chase before he was eventually captured. 

A man convicted of the 1988 murder of two roommates was executed by lethal injection on Tuesday at a facility in Huntsville, Texas, state authorities said.

Derrick Jackson, who was pronounced dead at 6:20pm local time (2320 GMT), was the 15th person to be executed in Texas this year, officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

Jackson, 42, was convicted of the murder of two men whose apartment he entered in September 1988.

He beat and stabbed both men to death before stealing a car that belonged to one of them. After a high-speed chase by Houston police, Jackson managed to evade capture.

He was later arrested and imprisoned after being convicted on involvement in a separate robbery.

While in prison, police re-examined the murder of the two men, and after matching his DNA to genetic material found at the crime scene, Jackson was rearrested, convicted and sentenced to death.

He gave no final statement at his execution, which was attended by his father and two brothers, as well as the father and cousin of one of his victims.

The execution was the 32nd in the United States in 2010. Another three executions are scheduled for later this year in Texas, where 322 people are currently on death row.

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