LITTLE ROCK — A woman who was 11 years old when she was beaten and her mother was killed by Jack Harold Jones Jr. asked the Arkansas Parole Board on Friday to recommend that Gov. Asa Hutchinson reject Jones’ bid for mercy.
The board held hearings Friday on Jones’ request for clemency in advance of his scheduled April 24 execution — one of seven executions Hutchinson has scheduled this month. Hutchinson originally set eight executions dates for this month, but a federal judge stayed the execution of Jason McGehee on Thursday.
Jones, 52, has been sentenced to death for the 1995 killing of 34-year-old Mary Phillips during a robbery of the accounting office in Bald Knob where she worked as a bookkeeper. Jones also severely beat Phillips’ 11-year-old daughter, Lacy Phillips, and left her for dead.
Lacy Phillips told the board Friday, “I don’t want to live another day knowing that he’s alive. Twenty-one years and he’s still here and we still have go through this, we still have to see it, we still have to talk about it.”
Chris Raff, former prosecutor for the 17th Judicial District, told the board that when police first arrived at the crime scene they did not realize Lacy Phillips was there, but after an officer noticed blood coming from under the bathroom door they entered the bathroom and found her. He said they mistook her for dead until a police photographer took a photo of her face and her eyes snapped open.
Raff showed the board that photo. He said he felt when he prosecuted Jones and still feels today that “for his actions, Jack Jones Jr. deserves to be executed.”
James Phillips, who was married to Mary Phillips when she was killed, told the board, “Y’all got a job to do, so let’s get our job done.”
Assistant Attorney General Darnisa Johnson said Jones has lately expressed remorse for his crimes, but she said he expressed no remorse during his trial or his appeals or when he appeared before the Parole Board to request clemency in 2007 and 2010. She told the board his “newly found remorse” should not be enough to warrant clemency now.
Jones also is serving a life sentence for the 1991 killing of 32-year-old Lorraine Anne Barrett in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Jones was linked to the crime in 2003 through DNA testing.
Jones said in his application for clemency that he feels regret and remorse for his crimes. He said his actions were the result of years of mental illness, abuse, drug use and bad choices, and that some of that information was not presented to the jury at his trial.
The board is expected to announce its recommendation early next week.
The hearings on Jones’ application are the last scheduled for any of the condemned inmates. The board previously recommended against clemency for four inmates and recommended commutation of McGehee’s sentence to life without parole. Two other inmates did not apply for clemency.
Hutchinson has not yet announced a decision on any of the clemency requests.