JACK H. JONES JR. (Executed April 24, 2017)
Jack Jones was executed with Marcel Williams on April 24, 2017 at the age of 52, in the United States first double execution in seventeen years. Jones was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1995 rape and murder of 34-year-old Mary Phillips at her accounting office in Bald Knob. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Phillips’ daughter Lacy.
According to the Fair Punishment Project, “Jack Jones suffers from bipolar disorder and depression. His symptoms of serious mental illness date back to his childhood. He endured visual hallucinations where he saw ‘bugs, ants and spiders in particular, that he believed were going to get him.’”
The report says that family members described how on other occasions, “he would sometimes rock and bang his head against the cupboards. A doctor at the time diagnosed him with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin. In 1980, when Jack was 16, a doctor recommended he receive psychotherapy and family counseling, but the family did not follow through.”
The report describes other psychiatric troubles: “In 1989, Jack attempted suicide. He tried again in 1991, when he jumped off a bridge. He was finally admitted for psychiatric attention.Just months prior to the capital murder, Jack voluntarily committed himself to the Pinnacle Pointe Hospital in Little Rock, reporting severe depression and repeated suicidal ideation. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed Lithium. He received the bipolar diagnosis again just weeks before the capital murder, in May of 1995. Jack also experienced physical abuse by his father, and sexual abuse at the hands of three strangers who abducted and raped him.”
The report adds, “His trial lawyers spent a grand total of $6,641.95 preparing his defense, including plane tickets for the witnesses, lodging, and food. They also used an expert at the 1996 trial who had surrendered his medical license in 1993 to enter substance abuse treatment. His license was reinstated in 1994, but he remained under supervision of the Medical Board, which issued an emergency stay in 1997 after a finding that he had “bec[o]me mentally incompetent to practice medicine to such an extent as to endanger the public.” The expert told the jury that he knew that Jack was not bipolar because he was bipolar himself.”
Jones was one of the individuals executed when Governor Asa Hutchinson set 8 executions to be carried out in the matter of 10 days.
Jack Jones Last words:
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 my child.
Jones also gave a written statement to his attorney to read:
I want people to know that when I came to prison I made up my mind that I would be a better person when I 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 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 that I caused.