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Apprentice Meat Cutter Executed For Stabbing Death

May 15, 1986

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ An apprentice meat cutter who slashed and stabbed a woman more than 50 times was executed for her murder Thursday after he bade his parents farewell and asked Allah for forgiveness.

Jay Kelly Pinkerton, spared from execution three times, lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and was put to death by injection for the crime committed when he was just 17 years old.

″I want you to know that I’m at peace with myself and with my God,″ he said before the drugs were injected into his arm. ″I bear witness to Allah. I ask your forgiveness ... and I return unto you.″

Pinkerton’s father, Gene, witnessed the execution, showing little emotion but gripped an aluminum rail in the death chamber just a few feet from his son.

″Say goodbye to Mom,″ Pinkerton said to his father. ″Keep your spirits up for me.″

″Bye, Jay,″ his father said, and he replied, ″I love you, Dad.″

He said he felt dizzy, yawned and then died at 12:25 a.m., nine minutes after the execution began.

Pinkerton, 24, was among the youngest people executed since 1976. The youngest was Jesse de la Rosa, 23, executed in Texas in 1985 for murdering a convenience store clerk in 1979.

Pinkerton was the 57th person to be put to death since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

″I guess its fair to say we are relieved,″ Virginia Royer, whose daughter, Sarah Donn Lawrence, was killed and mutilated by Pinkerton in October 1979 during a burglary at her Amarillo home. ″I know it’s kind of sad to end the life of someone that young, but he got to die more merciful than his victims.″

Pinkerton also was convicted of capital murder in a similar slaying of Sherry Welch, also of Amarillo.

Pinkerton, who denied any role in the slayings, told prison officials late Wednesday he was certain he would receive a reprieve.

After losing an appeal before the high court early in the day, he spent most of his final day typing a new appeal, which was hand-carried to a federal judge in Houston by Pinkerton’s mother. It also was rejected.

Gov. Mark White, who could have halted the execution, called the slayings ″two of the most brutal and heinous crimes imaginable.″

Fewer than a dozen spectators stood in a thunderstorm outside the prison while the execution took place. Among them was June Morgan, of New Waverly, Mrs. Lawrence’s aunt.

″I can’t believe I’m here hoping somebody dies,″ she said. ″But he’s not a people. He’s an animal.″

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