Rutledge Statement Following the Execution of Inmate Jack Jones
April 24, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the execution by lethal injection of inmate Jack Jones.
“This evening, Lacey Phillips Manor and Darla Phillips Jones have seen justice for the brutal rape and murder of their mother, Mary Phillips. Mary was performing her job as a bookkeeper in Bald Knob on June 6, 1995, when she was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while her 11-year-old daughter Lacey clung to life a few feet away after being choked and beaten. The Phillips family has waited far too long to see justice carried out, and I pray they find peace tonight.”
Facts of the case and procedural history:
Jack Jones was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death on April 17, 1996, in White County. On June 6, 1995, 17-year-old Darla Phillips dropped her 11-year-old sister Lacey off at Automated Tax and Accounting Service in Bald Knob, where their mother, 34-year-old Mary Phillips, worked as a bookkeeper. A man, who had come into the business earlier that day, and borrowed a book, entered the business again. He then told Lacey and her mother that he was sorry, but that he was going to have to rob them. He ordered Mary to lay on her stomach, and then made Lacey lay down on top of her mother. After retrieving the cash out of the register, he took them into a small break room. The man took Lacey into a bathroom off of the break room, tied her to a chair, then left. When he returned, Lacey, asked the man not to hurt her mother, to which he replied, “I’m not. I’m going to hurt you.” He began to choke Lacey until she passed out. After Lacey lost consciousness, Jones struck her at least eight times in the head with the barrel of a BB gun, causing severe lacerations and multiple skull fractures. When Lacey woke up, she saw blood and began to vomit. She went back to sleep and awakened later when police, seeing her bloodied body and thinking she was dead, were taking photographs of her.
Police found Mary’s body nude from the waist down. A cord from a nearby Mr. Coffee pot was wrapped around her neck and wire was tied around her hands, which were positioned behind her back. According to autopsy results, Mary died from strangulation and blunt-force head injuries. Rectal swabs indicated that she had been raped before she was killed.
Jones admitted to the police that he had committed the crimes because he wanted to get revenge against the police. He reasoned that his wife had been raped, and that the police had done nothing about it.
The Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed Jones’s conviction and sentence in 1997, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for writ of certiorari. Jones filed a Rule 37 post-conviction petition in the trial court in 1998, which was denied and the Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the denial of relief in 2000.
Jones then filed a federal habeas corpus petition in 2000. The district court denied relief on November 8, 2004, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit dismissed his appeal on June 14, 2006. His petition for writ of certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 13, 2006.