Hit man executed in Texas for killing witness

Donnell Jackson
This photo from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Donell Jackson, executed Wednesday at the Texas prison in Huntsville. AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man convicted of collecting $200 to kill a teenager to keep him from testifying about a drive-by shooting was executed Wednesday.

Donell Jackson, 33, expressed love to his family and friends and assured them that he was fine.

“I’m all right. Make sure Mama knows,” he told relatives who watched through a nearby window.

He also addressed Curtis Smith, the uncle of 17-year-old shooting victim Mario Stubblefield.

“I just want you to know that I wronged your family,” Jackson said. “I received nothing. I was not paid. I took his life for the love of a friend.”

Jackson was pronounced dead eight minutes later at 6:21 p.m. CST.

Smith, a Houston police officer who persuaded his nephew to testify, said he appreciated Jackson “acknowledging that he was wrong in what he did,” but called the execution “bittersweet.”

“I advised he needed to do the right thing,” he said of his nephew. “And by doing so, he lost his life.

Jackson was the 23rd convicted killer executed this year in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state. The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon refused appeals to review Jackson’s case and block his execution.

Jackson, then 20, showed up at Stubblefield’s Houston home on Aug. 31, 1993, under the guise of being the friend of a relative and asked to speak with him outside. Authorities said Jackson then pulled out a gun and fatally shot Stubblefield.

Witnesses identified another man waiting outside by a car as David Smith, the gunman in the earlier drive-by shooting that Stubblefield witnessed. Smith later was convicted of paying Jackson $200 to shoot Stubblefield and was sentenced to life in prison.