Arkansas executes inmates Jack Jones and Marcel Williams; victims’ family comments (Update 4)

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 2,092 views 

Editor’s note: Updated to include the execution of Marcel Williams.
Arkansas death row inmates Jack Jones and Marcel Williams have been executed. Jones was injected at 7:06 p.m., and was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m., with Williams injected at 10:16 p.m. and pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.

Numerous appeals, including those with the Arkansas Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, failed to delay Monday’s scheduled executions.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on March 6 set execution dates two at a time over an 11-day period starting April 17 and ending April 27.
• April 17: Don Davis, Bruce Ward;
• April 20: Stacey Johnson, Ledelle Lee;
• April 24: Marcel Williams, Jack Jones; and
• April 27: Jason McGehee, Kenneth Williams.

However, in separate legal actions, stays of executions were granted for Davis, Ward, Johnson and McGehee. Lee was executed Thursday (April 20).

Jones had a lengthy statement before he was executed. The family of Mary Phillips, who Jones is convicted of murdering, is planning to talk to the media gathered near the death unit. Williams did not have a statement or offer any final words.

Following were the reported last meals for Jones and Williams.
Jack Jones:
3 pieces of fried chicken
potato logs w/tarter sauce
beef jerky
Butterfinger candy bar
milkshake/w Butterfinger pieces
fruit punch

Marcel Williams:
3 pieces of chicken
banana pudding
nachos w/ chili cheese and jalapeno
2 Mountain Dews
potato logs w/ketchup

Following is the final statement from Jones: “Well, I just want to let the James family and Lacey know how sorry I am. I can’t believe I did something to her. I tried to be respectful from the time I took and become a better person. I hope I did better. I hope over time you could learn who I really am and I am not a monster. There was a reason why those things happened that day. I am so sorry Lacey, try to understand I love you like a child.”

Jack Jones Jr.

Jones also had a written statement, according to prison officials: “I want people to know that when I came to prison I made up my mind that I would be a better person when left than when I came in. I had no doubt in my mind that I would make every effort  to do this. I’d like to think that I’ve accomplished this. I’ve made every effort to be a good person – I practiced Buddhism and studied physics. I met the right people and did the right things. There are no words that would fully express my remorse for the pain I caused.”

Lacey Phillips, whose last name is now Manor, physically rejected the notion of Jones describing her as a daughter when a Talk Business & Politics reporter asked her about it following the execution.

“I don’t want to talk about that … I’m glad it’s done … that chapter is closed,” she said.

The woman who was nearly beaten to death by Jones when she was 11, held hands with family members during the brief meeting with reporters. At least 12 family members attended the press conference. Some viewed the execution. Her father, James Phillips was defiant about how long it took to execute Jones.

“I hope the state of Arkansas learns from this,” he said. “It don’t take 22 years to get something done.”

Mary Phillips’ son, Jesse James Phillips, said he didn’t want to talk about Jones or his death. He wanted to focus on his mother that died when he was 14.

“I don’t dwell on how she was taken from me,” he said. “No events from today will bring her back.”

UPDATED 1 and 4:
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued this statement after the Jones’ execution: “This evening the rule of law was upheld when the sentence of the jury for Jack Jones was carried out after 20 years of review. The victim’s family has waited patiently for justice during that time. The jury sentenced Jack Jones to death, and his sentence was upheld by judges and reviewed thoroughly in courts of appeal at each level. A governor never asks for this responsibility, but I accept it as part of the solemn pledge I made to uphold the law. Jack Jones expressed his willingness to proceed today, and we hope this will help bring closure to the Phillips family.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued this statement after Jones’ execution: “This evening, Lacey Phillips Manor and Darla Phillips Jones have seen justice for the brutal rape and murder of their mother, Mary Phillips. Mary was performing her job as a bookkeeper in Bald Knob on June 6, 1995, when she was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while her 11-year-old daughter Lacey clung to life a few feet away after being choked and beaten. The Phillips family has waited far too long to see justice carried out, and I pray they find peace tonight.”

Gov. Hutchinson issued this statement after Williams’ execution: “After more than 20 years, justice has prevailed for the family of Stacey Errickson. I reviewed this case thoroughly and determined that clemency should not be granted. I appreciate the patience and long-suffering of the Errickson family through this ordeal. This is a serious and reflective time in our state and it is important for the Errickson family and all Arkansans to know that in this case our laws ended in justice.”

Mary Phillips was killed by Jones in Bald Knob, and Mary’s daughter Lacy was severely beaten by Jones.

After he entered the bookkeeping office in which Mary worked, Jones told Mary to lie on her stomach, and he told Lacy to lie on top of her mother. He took the money out of the cash register. Mother and daughter were ordered into the break room. He took Lacy into the bathroom and tied her to a chair.

Mary’s hands were tied with wire. Jones wrapped a coffee pot cord around her neck, and violently raped her. She died from strangulation and blunt force trauma. When Jones returned to the bathroom, Lacy begged him to not hurt her mother.

He strangled Lacy until she fell unconscious. He beat her head with the butt of a BB gun. Jones left the business thinking the girl was dead. When police arrived they thought she was dead, too. A photographer was taking pictures when Lacy suddenly awoke. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, and her life was saved. She was able to identify Jones as their attacker.

Jones admitted to police he was involved. He told them he attacked the mother and daughter because he was mad at police. His own wife had been raped, and the police did nothing, he said. It was the justification he used to kill Mary Phillips and injure Lacy Phillips. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

Stacy Errickson, 22, decided to drive herself to work and the decision cost the mother of two her life. Errickson usually car-pooled with a friend, but on Nov. 20, 1994 she drove her own vehicle. She stopped at a Jacksonville-area gas station. A man approached. Two other women would later tell police about the same man menacing them around the same time.

Marcel Williams

Marcel Williams brandished a firearm and made Errickson move to the passenger seat. They stopped at ATM machines and he forced her to withdraw $350. Errickson never arrived at work. The last attempted transaction was at 7:37 a.m. She never picked her children up from the babysitter.

Her body was found in a shallow grave at a nearby park almost a month later. She’d been raped and strangled. Williams was initially interviewed by police Nov. 29, 1994, more than two weeks before her body was found. He admitted to police he abducted her, but told them he only robbed her. As far as he knew she was still alive, and he didn’t sexually assault her.

After her body was found, he was charged with capital murder, robbery, and rape. He was convicted. Williams, now 46 was sentenced to death For years, attorneys have argued he should have only received a life term.

Jurors were never told about his violent upbringing. Mitigating factors, such as abuse a defendant might have endured as an adolescent, must be consider by jurors, according to legal precedent. His original attorneys never brought up the fact that he’d been sexually and physical abused to the jury.