February 7, 2007
James Lewis Jackson is executed for the murders of his step-daughters
On April 9, 1997, a co-worker of Sharon Jackson (39) became concerned when Sharon failed to give her a ride to work as planned. The co-worker called Sharon’s sister who, accompanied by her mother, went to Sharon’s home. Inside were the bodies of Sharon and her daughters — Sonceria “Sonny” Mayes (19) and Erica Mayes (18). Each of the women had been choked to death, and Ericka had been found naked from the waist down.
A handwritten note was left at the scene which read: “I love Sharon, Sonny, Ericka. I could not take care of my family. I don’t have a job. I gave them back to God. He and they will understand. James.”
James was arrested and confessed during questioning. According to the confession, James had spoken with Ericka as she arrived home from her high school, and asked her how she felt about his impending separation from Sharon. Ericka’s answer was ambivalent, stating she didn’t care if the couple separated or stayed together. James then choked Ericka to death. Around 30 minutes later, Sonny returned home from her college classes, and James asked her the same question he had asked her sister. Sonny responded differently, saying she loved James and wanted him to stay in her life. When she tried to hug James, he strangled her, too, then placed the bodies of his stepdaughters in their beds. Later that day, Sharon called home to ask for a ride home from work. James answered, claimed the sisters were sleeping, and picked Sharon up. He attempted to reconcile with Sharon but, when she refused, he strangled her as well.
At trial, James professed his innocence and claimed the confession had been made while under duress during questioning. In addition, he claimed the note left at the scene was a prayer that had been taken “out of context.” “Everybody I talk to that’s Christian, they understand,” James stated. “You’re giving back to God.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Harris County assistant district attorney Julian Ramirez told reporters in response. “He had left the note at the crime scene. It was an open-and-shut case.”
“He does each murder individually at different times of the day in the same pattern,” prosecutor Lyn McClellan told the jury. “It is the most premeditated crime known to man.”
The jury deliberated for 30 minutes before convicting James of the murders of Ericka and Sonny; he was sentenced to death. He was not charged with the murder of his wife Sharon or for Ericka’s rape.
James continued to insist upon his innocence while in jail but was accepting of his fate. When his final appeal was denied, he told reporters, “I’m at peace with the situation. I embrace the execution with open arms. I know if this is the only way that I can be reunited with my family, I accept that.”
James was executed at the age of 47, just under a decade after the murders of his family. His final words were recorded as: “This is not the end but the beginning of a new chapter for you and I together forever. See you all later. See you on the other side.” He then addressed the warden to say, “Warden, murder me,” likened Harris County, Texas to the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, and said, “I’m ready to roll. Time to get this party started.”
“‘I’m ready to roll,’ killer says at execution.” Chicago Tribune. February 8, 2007. Accessed: February 7, 2021. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2007-02-08-0702080125-story.html
James Lewis Jackson. Clark County Prosecutor. Accessed: February 7, 2021. http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/death/US/jackson1062.htm
Carson, David. “Execution Report: James Jackson.” Texas Execution Information Center. February 8, 2007. Accessed: February 7, 2021. http://www.txexecutions.org/reports/383-James-Jackson.htm?page=2
Smith, Stewart. “Man convicted of killing stepdaughters executed.” The Item. February 7, 2007. Accessed: February 7, 2021. https://www.itemonline.com/news/local_news/man-convicted-of-killing-stepdaughters-executed/article_0d72127d-bb64-5e05-bc88-bc14028b151c.html
Grant, Alexis. “Victims’ family members won’t witness execution.” February 6, 2007. Accessed: February 7, 2021. https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Victims-family-members-won-t-witness-execution-1550050.php
“Man gets death for killing wife, two daughters.” The Paris News. January 30, 1998
“Husband charged in killings of three women.” The Marshall News Messenger. April 11, 1997