Donnell O'Keith Jackson, 33, was executed by lethal injection on 1 November 2006 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder-for-hire of a witness in a criminal trial.
On the morning of 31 August 1993, Jackson, then 20, and his friend, David Smith, drove to the Houston home where Mario Stubblefield, 17, lived with his father, Prince. Mario, who was an eyewitness to a drive-by-shooting, had testified against Smith before a grand jury and was scheduled to testify in court the next day. After speaking with Stubblefield and his father inside the house, Jackson asked if he could speak privately with Mario outside. Once outside, Jackson pulled a gun from his waist and shot the teen once in the head.
Eddie Clark, Stubblefield's friend and neighbor, was riding by on a bicycle. At Jackson's trial, Clark testified that he saw the victim and another man talking outside, while a third person waited in a car. A few moments later, he heard a gunshot. He saw the two men leave the scene in a hurry. He then ran to Stubblefield, saw that he had been shot, and asked his father to call 9-1-1. Clark waited for the police and gave them a description of the car and the two men.
The next day, police visited the home of Smith's girlfriend, Sheila Tolston, where Smith had been staying. A car matching the description Clark gave them - white with blue pinstripes and eagle emblems - was parked in the driveway.
Clark later identified Smith from a photograph as the man he saw sitting in the car moments before Stubblefield was shot. The investigation was then stalled for almost two years because of a lack of cooperation from Smith and Tolston. Eventually, Tolston implicated Donnell Jackson as the other participant in the murder. With this information, police assembled a photo lineup in which Eddie Clark identified Jackson as the man standing next to the car just before Stubblefield was shot.
With the shooter identified, Smith gave a statement to the police. He claimed that he did not know that Jackson was going to shoot Stubblefield. Police then arrested Jackson and played Smith's taped statement for him. Jackson responded, "Man, he paid me to do it." Jackson then made a confession in which he stated that Smith paid him $200 to kill Stubblefield. He also claimed that Smith gave him the gun.
To obtain a conviction for capital murder, prosecutors must not only show that a murder was committed, but also prove that one or more aggravating factors existed. Under Texas law, remuneration is an aggravating factor. At his trial, Jackson challenged the remuneration charge, claiming he was only doing a favor for Smith, and that no money was mentioned. He also testified that he only intended to scare Stubblefield and didn't mean to kill him.
Jackson had no prior convictions, but the state presented evidence that he once shot a former high school classmate in the face, and that as a juvenile, he committed indecency with a child.
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