[Deathpenalty]death penalty news------MISSISSIPPI
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Dec 17 22:10:15 CST 2005
Family says hitman 'causing trouble' with dying words
Hitman John B. Nixon Sr. was a violent father and a "liar" who couldn't
resist taking a last verbal slap at his family when he was executed,
relatives tell The Associated Press.
As poisonous chemicals were about to flow into his veins, 77-year-old
Nixon said he didn't commit the crime for which he was being put to death,
the 1985 contract killing of Virginia Tucker of Brandon. Instead, he said
one of his sons had been the triggerman.
Nixon's final words, spoken into an overhead microphone Wednesday as he
lay strapped to a state prison gurney, added a bizarre twist to a violent
and disturbing legacy.
"I did not kill Virginia Tucker," Nixon said to those witnessing his
execution. "I know within my heart, and it hurts to acknowledge, that it
was a son of mine and a Spanish friend and another man from Jackson."
2 of Nixon's sons - John B. Nixon Jr. and Henry Leon Nixon - and another
man were convicted on charges stemming from the fatal attack on Tucker.
They have served time and been released from prison.
During his 20 years on death row, Nixon never publicly accused one of his
sons of shooting Tucker. And, until his own final moments, he even
expressed remorse about his role in the murder.
The former auto mechanic, who had served time for rape years before the
murder, became the oldest person executed in the United States since the
death penalty was reinstated nearly 3 decades ago.
Nixon did not identify the son he was accusing. Moments before his chest
heaved, his eyes fluttered and his life ended, he said John Nixon Jr. was
not the murderer.
Henry Nixon, served almost 9 years for conspiracy to commit murder and was
released by the Mississippi Department of Corrections in June 1995. He was
jailed in Texas just days later for unauthorized use of a vehicle, Texas
officials said, but has since been released and says he is trying to move
on with his life.
"My father John B. Nixon Sr. was, and always has been, a liar. He has
caused my family heartache and grief," Henry Nixon told The Associated
Press in a post-execution telephone interview.
"He did the crime and received his just punishment. I served my time for
the crime I committed. I feel that justice has been served. I do apologize
to the family of the victim for my part, which was conspiracy," he said.
Henry Nixon, who testified against his father in the 1986 trial, said
court records tell the true story.
Dorothy Nixon Clark, one of Nixon Sr.'s daughters, supported the execution
of her father and said he was "causing trouble" with his last words.
"I believe his last quote was fitting of him," Clark said. "He knew what
he was doing." Clark, who also lives in Texas, said her father was an
extremely violent man who abandoned her at a Waffle House when she was 14
and brutally beat her brothers - sometimes with chains - throughout their
She described both her brothers as good men, and said Henry Nixon is "very
thoughtful" and just wants to leave the past behind and make a better life
The family remains haunted by tragedy.
Another of Nixon's sons, Charles Nixon, who was not implicated in the
Tucker attacks, was found beaten to death and burned in November of this
year in Illinois. 2 men have been arrested, but the Nixon family says they
have not been able to locate his wife and children.
Tucker's son, Joey Ponthieux, issued a written statement the day of the
execution, thanking "God for the opportunity to have lived long enough to
witness this day."
"This execution will bring no peace to my heart," Ponthieux said. "It will
provide only minimal closure to a decades old act of cruelty."
(source: Associated Press)
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