May 4, 2006

Texas man executed for 1988 murder

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man was executed by
lethal injection on Thursday for the 1988 murder of a
5-year-old girl abducted from her bed in Arlington, Texas.

Jackie Wilson, 39, was condemned for taking Maggie Rhodes
to a field on November 30, 1988, and raping and suffocating
her. Wilson then drove over the girl's body.

Wilson has maintained his innocence since being charged in
the crime. Wilson's DNA was found on the girl's body. His
fingerprints were found on the apartment's broken bedroom
window and Rhodes' hair was found in and on the underside of
the car Wilson was driving.

Wilson was tried twice for the murder. His first conviction
was thrown out because a juror was improperly dismissed.

On Thursday, in a final statement while strapped to a
gurney in the death chamber, Wilson spoke to his family and
friends while proclaiming his innocence.

"Honey, I love you," he said to his wife, Maria. "Thank you
for being there for me and all these people here will find the
one who did this damn crime. I am going home to be with God."

Wilson was the eighth person executed in Texas this year
and the 362nd put to death since the state resumed capital
punishment in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court
lifted a national death penalty ban, a total that leads the

For his final meal, Wilson requested a cheeseburger, onion
rings, a beef enchilada, tea, Coca-Cola, a whole onion, a whole
tomato and lemon pie.