TUPELO, Mississippi (Reuters) - Mississippi is scheduled to execute a man on Tuesday for the 1990 murders of four of his young nieces and nephews, and family members said their pleas for a reprieve have not swayed the state’s governor.
Henry Curtis Jackson Jr, 47, fatally stabbed two nieces and two nephews - aged 2 to 5 years - while he searched for money to steal from a safe kept in his mother’s home near Greenwood, authorities said.
Regina Jackson - his sister and the mother of two of his victims - said she and other family members asked Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant on Monday to halt the execution.
But she said the governor had already made up his mind to let the lethal injection proceed and informed the family of his decision Tuesday morning.
“We went before the governor to plead for my brother’s life,” Regina Jackson said. “They’re doing the same thing he did. Executing him won’t bring closure. It will bring more pain on my family.”
“I forgave my brother. I love my brother,” she said. “God says we got to forgive in order for Him to forgive us.”
The governor’s office said a meeting with the death row inmate’s family took place, but a spokeswoman could not immediately confirm Bryant’s decision on Tuesday.
In Mississippi, the governor has the sole authority to grant clemency and also can commute death sentences to life in prison.
Jackson, called “Curtis” by his family, is to be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. CDT (2300 GMT) at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. He would be the fourth person executed this year in the state and the 19th person executed in the nation.
“We’re under no illusions that Curtis is going to be set free or anything, other than life without parole. The only thing we’re asking for is his life,” said Jackson’s attorney, Robert “Chip” Davis.
Jackson fled after the murders, prompting an extensive manhunt that ended when he turned himself in to police four days later. He admitted to the crimes but said he had no specific memory of stabbing the children, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Two other relatives survived after being stabbed in the November 1, 1990, attack. Regina Jackson said she was stabbed 15 times.
Curtis Jackson was convicted in 1991 of four counts of capital murder, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of armed robbery.
Another convicted killer, Jan Michael Brawner, is scheduled to be put to death in Mississippi on June 12.
Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Andrew Stern, Lisa Shumaker and Carol Bishopric