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Man is first to receive lethal injection for rape and murder

LETHAL INJECTION: Jerry Terrell Jackson

A MAN who raped and suffocated an 88-year-old woman was the first person in Virginia to receive a lethal injection using a revised three-drug version, last Thursday (Aug 18).

Jerry Terrell Jackson, 30, was put to death at Greensville Correctional Center, after he was found guilty of the rape and murder of seamstress Ruth Phillips in her Williamsburg apartment in 2001.

It has been reported that Jackson broke into the woman's home during a burglary, put a pillow over her face and raped her. According to the police, Jackson then stole her car and used the $60 he stole to purchase cannabis.

The execution was administered using a new version of the lethal injection that has drug pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental after there has been a nationwide shortage of the sedative.

Concerns about the use of pentobarbital, have been raised after there was some evidence the other inmates who were executed reportedly "suffered" when the drug was used.

The Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said that the execution teams had been retrained. She told the Associated Press that they can now, “carry out the order of execution in a professional and constitutional manner.”

Jackson claimed that his behaviour may have been due to the child abuse he suffered at the hands of his father and stepfather while growing up. His brother and sister also testified that he had a disturbed childhood.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Jackson said: “I’m sorry Mrs. Phillips lost her life due to something that I done. I’m sorry to Mr. Philips that he hurt so much. I’m sorry that he lost his mother.”

He added on his child abuse effecting his life: “I didn’t think I would have ended up this way. I don’t think I would be on death row.”

Neither Mr Phillips nor other members of the victim’s family witnessed the execution.

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