Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Wednesday, May 3, 2000

MEDIA ADVISORY:

TOMMY RAY JACKSON SCHEDULED TO BE EXECUTED

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Tommy Ray Jackson who is scheduled to be executed Thursday, May 4, after 6 p.m.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

In the late evening hours of November 17, 1983, Tommy Ray Jackson and his accomplice, James Clary, kidnapped University of Texas student Rosalind Robison from the parking lot of the Petroleum Engineering Building on the U.T. campus in Austin. After being kidnapped and sexually assaulted she was driven in her car to Williamson County where she was shot in the head at close range by Jackson. Her body was discovered in a gravel pile one month later.

Jackson and James Clary met at the Dismas Halfway House in Austin, where they had discussed stealing a car to be used in future robberies. On the morning of November 17, 1983, Jackson and Clary left the Dismas Halfway House. After spending much of the day at various locations in East Austin, the two began searching for a car to steal. Jackson had a weapon, and the two carefully looked at several locations in the vicinity of the University of Texas campus, and ultimately decided to look on the campus itself. Between 11 p.m. and midnight, Clary and Jackson focused their attention on the parking lot next to the Petroleum Engineering Building located on U.T. campus. They spotted Rosalind walking toward her car. Using their weapon, they kidnapped Rosalind and drove away in her white Oldsmobile Delta 88.

After discovering that Rosalind had no money, they went to the nearest ATM, and got some cash with Rosalind's ATM card. They then proceeded north on IH-35, during which time Jackson raped Rosalind in the back seat of the car. They exited IH-35 in Williamson County, and stopped in a remote area where Clary had sexual intercourse with the victim. According to Clary, because he used Jackson's name in the presence of Rosalind, she was executed. Clary and Jackson took Rosalind from the car , with her hands bound, and led her near a gravel pit where she was shot at point blank range in the back of the head by Jackson. After Jackson tried to hide the body by covering it with loose gravel, he and Clary left the scene in Rosalind's car. Jackson kept the car until he was arrested.

Rickey Johnson, an acquaintance of Jackson and Clary, who lived within blocks of the Dismas Halfway House, testified that sometime prior to Thanksgiving in November of 1983, Jackson was looking for a gun and that he (Rickey Johnson) rented Jackson a gun for twenty dollars. This gun was returned to Rickey Johnson after Thanksgiving by his brother, James Johnson. After Jackson was arrested, Rickey found out that the Austin police were looking for the gun. Initially, when a homicide investigator with the Austin Police Department contacted Rickey, he said he didn't know anything about the gun and tried to hinder the police probe by hiding the gun in a local storm drain.

Ultimately, however, Rickey Johnson led homicide investigators to the weapon where they retrieved it from the sewer. Rickey's brother, James, testified and admitted that he received the weapon from Clary after Thanksgiving and returned it to Rickey.

Ronald D. Richardson, a DPS firearms expert, conducted a ballistic examination on the bullet removed from Rosalind's body, and testified that it was fired from the handgun Jackson had rented from Rickey Johnson.

Maria Salazar, the roommate of Rosalind, informed the jury that on the evening that Rosalind disappeared she was wearing a gold Seiko watch, with a small white face, and little safety link chain. Additionally, she confirmed that Rosalind kept in the trunk of her automobile a tool kit, blanket and orange towel in case of a road emergency.

Pam McKinney, a female acquaintance of both Jackson and Clary, said that she had met Jackson some six months prior to his arrest. Further, she reported that neither Jackson nor Clary owned a car; however, on the Friday morning prior to Jackson's arrest, Jackson and Clary showed up at McKinney's home in a white Oldsmobile. At that time Jackson drove McKinney to various locations in Austin, during which time she noticed a lady's purse in the front passenger area of the vehicle. She also testified that Jackson was in possession of a lady's gold Seiko watch and had tried to give it to her sister, Linda Lindly. In addition, she witnessed Jackson the next morning wash his face with an orange towel he had taken from the vehicle. McKinney later turned the towel over to police investigators.

Linda Lindly, Pam McKinney's sister, who also lived with her at the East Austin address, testified that on November 18, 1983, she had Jackson take her to a local clinic, and as transportation Jackson was driving a white Oldsmobile Delta 88. While in the vehicle she spotted a brown purse on the front floor board; Jackson informed her that the purse "belonged to the friend's wife who had loaned him the car." Her testimony also revealed that on the weekend following Rosalind Robison's disappearance, Jackson was freely spending money buying "beer, liquor, food, weed and whatever we asked for."

Ms. Lindly partially confirmed McKinney's testimony in that she also testified that Jackson had requested that she keep a gold Seiko watch with a safety chain. Lindly, however, refused the request. Moreover, Lindly witnessed Clary in possession of a small caliber handgun identical to the murder weapon.

Anita Hall, the passenger in the vehicle at the time of Jackson's arrest, testified that when she first met Jackson he had no car; but that three days later he was driving the white Oldsmobile.

When Jackson was arrested by officers of the Austin Police Department, a checkbook was found that contained Rosalind's ATM card. Republic Bank of Austin confirmed that Rosalind held an account with the bank and had been issued an ATM card. The bank also revealed that on November 17, at 11:39 p.m., a $50 withdrawal was transacted with the card on an ATM in Austin.

Pubic hairs removed from the back seat of Rosalind Robison's car, matched Jackson's pubic hair. Finger prints found on Rosalind's personal effects, recovered from the trunk of the car, were also identified as Jackson's.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 10, 1984, Jackson was indicted in the 277th District Court of Williamson County, Texas, for the capital murder of Rosalind Robison while in the course of committing and attempting to commit the offenses of robbery, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual assault, which occurred on November 17, 1983. Jackson was tried before a jury upon a plea of not guilty, and on December 3, 1984, the jury found him guilty of the capital offense. On December 4, 1984, following a separate punishment hearing, the jury answered affirmatively the two special sentencing issues submitted and sentenced Jackson to death.

Jackson's conviction and sentence was automatically appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and it was affirmed on February 3, 1988. Jackson then petitioned the United States Supreme Court for writ of certiorari, which the Supreme Court denied on June 3, 1988.

Jackson filed an application for habeas corpus relief in the trial court on October 17, 1988. The trial court held an evidentiary hearing, and on November 17, 1994, the court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law, followed by supplemental findings and conclusions on August 31, 1995, recommending that relief be denied. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief based on the trial court's findings and conclusions on October 2, 1996.

On October 17, 1996, Jackson filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. The district court denied habeas relief on August 10, 1998, but granted permission to appeal on October 8, 1998. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas corpus relief on October 29, 1999. Jackson's petition for writ of certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court on March 20, 2000.

PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY

Ivory Tealer, Jackson's cousin, testified that he and Jackson, along with another individual, used a shotgun to burglarize the house of Wilbur Woods in Luling, Texas, three years prior to Jackson's murder trial. During the burglary, the men confronted Woods; one held a gun on Woods while another ransacked the house, eventually shoving Woods's 10 year-old son with a shotgun and holding it to the back of his head. The family was then forced into a closet while the men robbed the house. A former bank president also testified to details of an armed robbery of his bank by two men, for which Jackson was convicted. The witness, the bank president's son, a teller, and a customer were ordered to go inside the bank and get down on their knees with their hands held up, while one of the men held a gun on them. The witness was then ordered to open the safe in the vault. After taking the money, the men ordered the four victims into the vault and shut the door. The man's son, who also worked at the bank, stated that it was Tommy Ray Jackson who pulled a pistol on him.

Jackson was also convicted of burglary of a vehicle in Guadalupe County. In addition, Jackson was convicted of theft by check on a prior occasion.

DRUGS AND/OR ALCOHOL

There was no evidence of drug or alcohol use connected with the instant offense.

SCHEDULED EXECUTIONS 05/09/2000 William Joseph Kitchens (Taylor County)
05/11/2000 Michael Lee McBride (Lubbock County)
05/23/2000 James Davis Richardson (Navarro County)
05/24/2000 Richard Donald Foster (Parker County)
05/25/2000 James Edward Clayton (Taylor County)
05/31/2000 Robert Earl Carter (Burleson County)

MISCELLANEOUS

If this execution is carried out, it will be the 212th execution since executions resumed in Texas in December 1982 and the 48th since General Cornyn took office. This is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Katherine Hayes in the Capital Litigation Division.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050