Virginia Man Faces Execution For Elderly Woman’s Death In 2001 | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Virginia Man Faces Execution For Elderly Woman’s Death In 2001

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Virginia is scheduled to execute a man from Williamsburg tonight, using a new drug mix that's been contested in other states.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in, Jerry Terrell Jackson, 30, will be executed by lethal injection at 9 p.m. tonight.

Jackson is being convicted of raping and suffocating 88-year-old widow and mother, Ruth Phillips in 2001. It will be the first execution by lethal injection in Virginia using a new drug called pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital is a sedative administered before two other drugs that forms a lethal combination that stops an inmate's heart. Attorneys in some states contest use of the drug, which replaces another due to a nationwide supply shortage.

But Jackson's attorneys aren't focused on the drug in a last-ditch effort to get his execution blocked. Jackson and his attorneys argue that he is a damaged adult, because of severe physical abuse as a child, and that his history wasn't taken into account during his trial and sentencing.

Gov. Bob McDonnell heard their plea, but denied the request to commute his sentence to life in prison.

Phillip's son, Richard, says the execution is long overdue.

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