Arkansas Death Row Inmate: 'I haven't wanted clemency ever'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The family of a death row inmate's victim begged the Arkansas Parole Board for the third time to carry out his execution later this month. 

Jack Jones was the last of six death row inmates to request a clemency hearing. His execution is scheduled for April 24 alongside Marcel Williams. 
 
Jones didn't appear before the board Friday at the Varner Unit but asked his attorney to read a letter addressed to his victim's daughter and husband and the commissioners. 
 
"I am so very, very sorry," read Jeff Rosenzweig. "I haven't wanted clemency ever. I have no interest in it."
 
Instead, Jones wrote he requested the hearing to stand in solidarity with his fellow inmates over the lethal injection drug lawsuit and publicly apologize to his victim's daughter, Lacy Phillips. 
 
"For so many years, I kept a grainy, black and white Xerox photo of you on the surgical table, kept it taped to the inside of my notebook and at the bottom, I had written in bold letters, 'YOU DID THIS,'" Jones wrote. "I kept it so I would never forget to remember. Some guys don't. Some make every effort not to or they lie to themselves and survive on denial. I've never been able to do such a thing."
 
The death row inmate was convicted and condemned for the 1995 robbery, rape and murder of 34-year-old Mary Phillips and the attempted murder of her daughter, Lacy.
 
Twenty-one years later, Lacy asked the parole board to execute her mother's killer. 
 
"It's ridiculous that we've had to live our whole lives like this," she told the commissioners. "He admitted to what he did. He needs to pay for it, and my family needs it."
 
Lacy's daughter is now 11 years old, the same age she was when Jones changed her life forever. 
 
"I don't want to live another day knowing he's alive," she said. "Twenty-one years and he's still here."
 
Jones's baby sister pleaded for his life in a video Rosenzweig played during his presentation.
 
She painted a different picture of her 52-year-old brother: a boy who grew up with abusive parents, struggled with alcoholism, drug abuse and mental disabilities, like bipolar disorder, and never got help. 
 
"I'm not excusing what he did," she said. "But Jack was never given a shot. He suffered a long time from his mental illness."
 
That boy became a man she's had to learn to know from behind bars, one riddled with a series of medical issues, including diabetes that caused him to lose one of his legs. 
 
"Jack's been deteriorating for quite some time," she said. 
 
"I wish he would have come out so the board could see him," Rosenzweig said. "He's been in extreme physical pain for a number of years."
 
He and Jones worry one of the lethal injection drugs, midazolam, would lose its effect on him since he has been on methadone and other drugs for years. That's why Jones asked for execution by firing squad, but that has never been a lawful method of execution in Arkansas. 
 
"We think we're heading toward disaster," Rosenzweig said. 
 
Jones's baby sister argued he still has so much left to give, showing pictures he's painted for her and talking about his three kids and grandkids.
 
"He's such a sweet soul," she said. "I just hope my brother has peace and knows how much how he is loved no matter what he's done. I don't think he deserves what's coming his way."
 
However, Lacy believes Jones deserves every minute of it as memories of her mother are constantly overshadowed by another face she tries to forget but can't. 
 
"I've heard eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, and I think it's time," Lacy said.  
 
So does Jones, according to his letter. 
 
"Your wish is and always has been that I die," he wrote. "And I could never, ever deny you this. Know, too, that I have suffered at times tremendously. I have been in pain since day one and subconsciously, I am told I have continually sabotaged my healing out of guilt, feeling that I'm not deserving." 
 
Jones ended his letter with a message for Lacy. 
 
"I shall not ask to be forgiven, for I haven't the right," Rosenzweig read. "I'm so very, very sorry, Lacy. I've no excuse. None. For years and years, I've hoped and prayed you'd be ok. Sounds stupid, I know, but I am deeply sorry. In dynamic peace, Jack H. Jones II."
 
While Lacy and her family vow to never come before the parole board again, Jones promised even if Gov. Asa Hutchinson grants him clemency, he would decline it. 
 
"There's no way I would spend another 20 years in this rat hole," Jones wrote. "Oh, hell no."
 
An attorney with the governor's office said that issue has never popped up before. 
 
The commissioners said they have to review all clemency applications as submitted, no matter if an inmate wants clemency or not.

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