News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2007

Alabama death row inmate executed

ATMORE (AP)— Aaron Lee Jones was executed Thursday by lethal injection for the gruesome 1978 slaying of a Blount County couple, a crime that made him one of the state's longest death row residents.

Jones, 55, showed no emotion and had no final words, never looking toward the witnesses who included his victims' adult children. Jones kept his eyes fixed on the ceiling and lifted his head only once when the deadly drugs entered his body.

Prison chaplain Chris Summers knelt beside Jones, placed his hand on the inmate's left hand and prayed. Jones was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m.

Daniel Nelson, the couple's son who still lives in Blount County, said Jones should have died in the electric chair.

"He don't deserve no more than what he dished out," Nelson said at a post-execution news conference with two other brothers, Larry Nelson and Charlie Nelson. Another brother, Tony Nelson, who was in the house during the murders and survived the attack, is deceased.

Billy Irwin, of Blountsville, who was a sheriff's investigator at the time of the slayings, said he and the Nelsons had been watching the case for 28 years. He said, "Justice has finally been carried out."

High court

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday refused Jones' request to vacate the execution date. His appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was rejected Thursday afternoon.

Jones, of Birmingham, has filed many appeals during the last 27 years, the latest challenging lethal injection.

He was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of Willene and Carl Nelson, and sentenced to death — first in 1979 and then in a retrial in 1982. The Nelsons, who lived in the Rosa community of Blount County, a farming area northeast of Birmingham, were attacked about 3:30 a.m.

Besides the murders, Jones and cohort Arthur Lee Giles, also on death row, shot and stabbed the Nelsons' three children and their grandmother. They survived the attacks.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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