HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Convicted killer George Jones was executed Wednesday evening for the fatal shooting of a Dallas man during a carjacking 17 years ago.
Jones, 36, exhausted his court appeals and his lawyer made no last-day attempts to block the lethal injection, the 12th this year in the nation's busiest death penalty state. Jones was arrested several months after the body of Forest Hall, 22, was found along a rural road near Lancaster in April 1993.
When asked by the prison warden if he had a final statement, Jones thanked his parents "who have been my pillar of strength in this situation" and his brothers and sisters "who have loved me despite my faults and imperfections."
None of his relatives witnessed the execution, but his victim's relatives watched through a window. Jones told them that he hoped the punishment "brings you closure or some type of peace."
"This has been a long journey, one of enlightenment," he added. "It's not the end, it's only the beginning."
After a gasp and loud snores, Jones stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. CDT, eight minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing.
His arms were partially covered by his white shirt and the tape around the intravenous tubes carrying the drugs. One needle was opposite a tattoo of the word "killer" on his right arm.
Jones was arrested at his parents' home about five months Hall's body was found. The employee at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital had been shot twice in the head after he was abducted and his car was taken from a Dallas shopping mall.
Jones acknowledged being a drug dealer but said prosecutors were wrong when they tied him to 21 crimes, including Hall's slaying and another killing shortly before he was arrested.
Jones was arrested after an accomplice, Derrick Rodgers, implicated him. Rodgers plea-bargained for a 22-year prison term for aggravated robbery and testified against Jones.
Evidence showed Hall's abductors approached him in the mall parking lot and forced their way into his car. Rodgers testified Hall was ordered to lie face-down in a ditch and was shot twice by Jones in the back of the head.
The next day, Hall's car — stripped of tires and wheels and stereo — was recovered near Fair Park in south Dallas.
A forensic examiner testified at Jones' capital murder trial that Jones had signed a pawn slip for the tires and rims from Hall's car. A car stereo and speakers from Hall's car were found at Jones' home.
Jones gave a written confession that blamed Rodgers for Hall's slaying but said he "accidentally" shot Hall once in self-defense. His lawyers later challenged the confession, which Jones said was written by police, but it was allowed into evidence at his capital murder trial in 1995.
Five years ago, Jones got within two days of execution before the Court of Criminal Appeals halted the punishment to review claims he was mentally impaired and ineligible for execution. That appeal eventually was rejected.
Two more executions are scheduled for Texas this month. Next is David Powell, 59, condemned for fatally shooting an Austin police officer, Ralph Albanedo, in 1978. Powell's execution June 15 would come nearly 32 years after he arrived on death row.
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