LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- At least one of the seven men set to be executed later this month said he's ready to pay for his crimes.
Jack Jones Jr. scheduled a clemency hearing Friday, but then left it to his lawyer to explain why he wanted the hearing but didn't want clemency. In a letter, Jones called out the news media for expecting him to plead for his life today. He had something else in mind and skipped the hearing, saying he's ready to die for his crimes.
“I have not wanted a hearing and I have not wanted clemency ever,” said Jeff Rosenzweig, reading from a hand-written letter Jones handed him less than an hour before the hearing was scheduled to begin.
Jones, 52, raped and killed Mary Phillips in 1995 and left her 11-year-old daughter, Lacy, for dead in a Bald Knob accountants office. After his conviction, Jones pleaded guilty to murdering Lorraine Barrett of Pennsylvania at a South Florida hotel when she was on vacation. DNA evidence in 2003 linked Jones to that cold case.
“I am truly sorry not only for that which I have done but for your having to come here today,” Jones said in his letter. “I was merely trying to add my name to the clemency lawsuit to show respect and solidarity for my fellow inmates in the matter.”
Rosenzweig represents the other inmates scheduled to be executed over an 11-day span at the end of this month. The parole board held five other clemency hearings, rejecting four appeals and recommending the one from Jason McGehee. That recommendation triggered a stay from Federal District Judge D. Price Marshall on Thursday, ruling that McGehee was entitled to a 30-day comment period beyond the April 27th date scheduled by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Jones, too, would be entitled to a stay if the board recommended clemency. But instead he remained on death row and said he only requested clemency to stand in solidarity with the six other inmates set to be put to death later this month.
Still, Rosenzweig presented a case including stacks of Jones’ recent medical records and a videotaped interview with his younger sister, Lynn Scott. She described a house of horrors growing up but said Jones protected her despite mental, physical and sexual abuse from her parents and a half-sibling.
“I just want my brother to have peace and to know how much he is loved no matter what he's done,” Scott said.
But at a victim input hearing a few hours later, Lacy Phillips said she wanted peace as well.
“I don't want to live another day knowing that he's still alive. I mean 21 years and he's still here,” she said. “I've heard an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I think it's time.”
“You all have a job to do,” said James Phillips, Lacy’s father and husband of the woman Jones killed. “So let's get our job done, and we don't want to be back up here again. We're not coming back up here again on this account.”
There is no timetable for a decision from the board. Governor Hutchinson has yet to decide on its earlier recommendations.