After a Texas court refused to consider new evidence of his innocence, Jackie Elliott was executed by lethal injection on 4 February 2003.
Jackie was born in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 1960 where his father was a serviceman at a nearby US air base. In 1986 he was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death.
Reprieve fought a high-profile battle to save Jackie’s life in the weeks leading up to his execution. Reprieve staff worked tirelessly to find and interview witnesses and develop evidence that questioned Jackie’s guilt. This included investigation of alternate suspects and requests for DNA testing.
But the Texas courts refused to allow DNA testing of critical physical evidence, despite a unanimous petition from the jurors who had sentenced Jackie to death requesting that his execution be stayed until such testing could be conducted.
The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights requested that the United States prevent the execution in order to allow the Commission to rule on apparent breaches of human rights law in Jackie’s case.
Reprieve’s fight to save Jackie was supported by Amnesty International, and a coalition of 150 UK MPs, church leaders, members of the House of Lords, the Law Society and the English Bar’s Human Rights Committee.
Despite all this, Texas went ahead with Jackie’s execution. He was killed by lethal injection on 4 February 2003 in Hunstville, Texas.
Jackie’s tragic execution shows why Reprieve’s work is so vital. There are many more people like Jackie who still need our help.