This week in 2000
“If I knew who killed Rosalyn I would let you know, but, I am going to say this: I am going to heaven with God as my witness. Ros was a personal friend of mine…I am at peace, please believe me…Wherefore, I figure that what I am dying for now is what I have done in my past. This is what I am dying for. Not for killing Rosalind. I don’t know what y’all call her but I call her Ros.”
— Tommy Ray Jackson, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Texas.
Executed May 4, 2000
In a halfway house where Jackson was paroled after a burglary charge, he met with an accomplice and they discussed how to steal a car to commit more robberies. Later they waited in a University of Texas–Austin parking lot to steal the car of Rosalind Robinson. Driving out of town, they took turns raping her and finally shot her in the back of the head. Jackson kept her car until police arrested him.
This week in 1999
“I forgive all of you.”
— Manuel Pina Babbitt, convicted of rape and murder, lethal injection, California.
Executed May 4, 1999
Leah Schendel, age seventy-eight, did not die of the beating Babbitt gave her. What killed her was the heart attack she suffered from the ordeal. Babbitt, a paranoid schizophrenic and Vietnam War veteran, denied any recollection of what he had done. During his appeal, his lawyers said the post-traumatic stress syndrome he suffered in the wake of his two tours of duty in Vietnam caused him to black out during the murder.
Babbitt was awarded the Purple Heart while on death row.
This week in 1989
“I hope and pray that all the new and reopened wounds will be healed quickly after my passing. My death is the Lord’s will and I am now with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Heaven.”
— Aubrey Adams JR., convicted of murder, electric chair, Florida.
Executed May 4, 1989
Adams, a prison guard at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to death for smothering eight-year-old Trisa Gail Thornley. He had made an obscene phone call to the child’s home and then took her from the residence. Naked and mutilated, her body was found two months later in a plastic bag.
Outside the prison, Thornley’s mother told reporters: “It’s a decade too late, but we finally got justice today. I wish my husband were here today. This killed him.”