Derrick Jackson Executed for Deaths of Two Houston Opera Singers

Derrick Jackson Executed for Deaths of Two Houston Opera Singers
Derrick Jackson (AP Photo)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (CBS/AP) The state of Texas has executed Derrick Jackson, the man convicted of murdering two Houston opera singers nearly 22 years ago.

The 42-year-old declined to make a final statement before the lethal injection was administered Tuesday, and, according to the Houston Chronicle, he did not make eye contact with his family or the family of his victims. 

He never moved, staring at the ceiling of the death chamber, as the lethal drugs began, then gasped several times as they took effect.

Eight minutes later, at 6:20 p.m., he was pronounced dead.

He was the 15th person to be executed in Texas this year.

Jackson contended he was unfairly convicted of the Sept. 1988 fatal beatings and slashings of Forrest Henderson and Richard Wrotenbery. The two 31-year-old men were members of the Houston Grand Opera chorus.

The slayings inside Henderson's apartment went unsolved until 1995. At that time, Jackson was already in prison serving a 12-year term for aggravated robbery when investigators linked fingerprints on a beer can, a glass and a door knob to Jackson. Stains on bathroom towels matched his DNA.

In a recent interview from death row, Jackson told The Associated Press he didn't want to die but wasn't scared.

"It's more a reluctance that it had to come to this," he said.

"It's like you have terminal disease for a number of years and finally they say you're not going to be able to live with it any longer so you're going to have to get your affairs together with your family and within yourself."

"I'm relieved that it's over," Carl Wrotenbery, 80, said after watching his son's killer die. "It's something that had to be done. I did not look forward to it."