Parchman death row ‘Sanctuary City’ for too many murderers
(Editor’s note: In today’s second of a two-part series, Ricky Swindle list inmates who have been on death row for 20 years or more and their crimes. He also shares his view on why the state’s ultimate punishment is appropriate.
See last Friday’s edition for the first installment where he examines the history of the death penalty in Mississippi.)
There are 47 inmates currently on death row in Mississippi; 46 males, one female, 26 black, 20 white and one Asian. These 47 inmates are directly responsible for the violent and brutal murders of 62 people. Of those 47 inmates, 17 have been there 20 years or longer.
I’ve comprised a list of these 17 Parchman homestead inmates and their crimes. In my opinion, Parchman Death Row has been a Sanctuary City too long for these evil people. I believe in our justice system. The wheels will turn again and when they do, you will know who they are talking about on the news when these executions come up.
Richard Jordan – Kidnapped Edwina Marta, then shot her in the back of her head on January 13, 1976 in Harrison County. Has had four trials and been locked up since March 2, 1977.
James Billiot – Killed his father, stepmother and half- sister with a sledge hammer on Thanksgiving Day 1981 in the Leetown community east of Picayune. Has been on death row since December 13, 1982.
Roger Thorson – Kidnapped, raped and then cut the throat of Gloria McKinney on March 4, 1987. After all that, she was alive and trying to escape when he killed her with a shot to the back of the head. Been on death row since September 28, 1988.
Ronnie Lee Connor – Robbed and cut the throat of Celeste Brown on New Year’s Day 1990 in Meridian. Been on death row since July 25, 1990.
Ricky Chase – Robbed and murdered Elmer Hart on August 14, 1989 in Hazelhurst. Been on death row since March 11, 1990.
Robert Simon Jr and Anthony Carr – Robbed, raped, tortured and murdered Carl Parker, his wife and two children in Quitman County on Feb. 2, 1990. The pair raped and sodomized 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. Shot entire family then burned the house down on them. Mrs. Parker was shot four times but died of smoke inhalation. Authorities believe she was conscious and most likely witnessed the entire horrific event.
Simon has been on death row since July 6, 1990. Carr has been there since September 20, 1990.
Alan Dale Walker – Kidnapped, raped and murdered 19-year-old Konya Edwards by holding her head under water until she drowned on September 8, 1990 in Harrison County. Has been on death row since August 13, 1991.
Willie Jerome Manning – Four counts of capital murder. Shot and killed Jon Steckler, 19, and Tiffany Miller, 22, on December 11, 1992. Beat and then slashed the throats of 90-year-old Emmoline Jimmerson and her 60-year-old daughter, Alberta Jordan on January 18, 1993 in Starkville. On death row since November 10, 1994.
Charles Ray Crawford – Kidnapped, raped and stabbed to death 20-year-old Kristy Ray on January 20, 1993 in Tippah County. Has been on death row since June 24, 1993.
Sherwood Brown – Hacked to death Betty Boyd 82, Verline Boyd, 49 and Evangelo Boyd, 13 on January 7, 1993 in DeSoto County. Been on death row since May 7, 1993.
Clyde Wendell Smith – Robbed and killed Johnny Smith on November 7, 1992 in Sidon. Has been on death row since July 1, 1993.
Joseph Patri Brown – Robbed and killed Martha Day, shooting her four times in the head, heart, and back, August 8, 1982 in Natchez. Been on death row since March 17, 1994.
Kelvin Jordan – Murdered Tony Roberts by shooting him multiple times, then shot Roberts’ two-year-old son, Cordera Bradley, in the back of the head, killing him on October 5, 1993 in Pachuta. Been on death row since November 5, 1996.
Justin Underwood – Kidnapped and murdered Lindsay Harris by shooting her four times on February 15, 1994 in Madison County. Been on death row since May 26, 1995.
Blayde Grayson – Burglarized home of 78-year-old Minnie Smith then stabbed her over 30 times on May 5, 1996 in Pascagoula. Been on death row since August 9, 1997.
Curtis Flowers – Shot and killed Bertha Tardy, Carmen Rigby, Robert Golden and Derrick Stewart at a Winona Furniture Store on July 16, 1996. Been on death row since October 17, 1997.
I would wager than you didn’t realize there are so many on death row that have been there that length of time.
From what I have studied it seems that the power of public opinion has changed the ways and means of executions over the past 75 or so years. The public seeks a more humane end for inhumane criminals. But what about the victims and their survivors? It seems that along the way they are forgotten about during this process of law.
These are violent, atrocious deaths brought on by nothing more than being caught in the path of an evil doer. The public forgets this, I believe, because it has not happened to their family personally. Other folks’ tragedies seem to go to a watered down place in our minds, but it’s constant and always real to a family member of a victim.
Will carrying out the death penalty bring their loved one back? Will it give them a feeling of vengeance carried out? The answer to both questions is no. But it will give them the one thing that we all need when we lose a loved one for any reason…closure.
These unmerciful acts not only take the victims’ lives but they alter and distort the lives of family members left behind. I’ve known families of victims personally who have struggled for years dealing with their loss. Some have gone so far as to be consumed by it.
Where’s their justice? Where does the law stand for them? It is my view that the death penalty, although called capital punishment is not a punishment at all. It is a penalty. The price for evil. The final penalty and the only penalty we have in our arsenal to confront and dispose of evil doers.
We can’t educate or incarcerate evil. It is what it is, so we as a society must do what we need to do to answer.