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Texas man executed for 1988 rape, murder of girl

By Staff
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas, May 5 (Reuters) A Texas man was executed by lethal injection for the 1988 murder of a 5-year-old girl abducted from her bed in Arlington, Texas.

Jackie Wilson, 39, was condemned for taking Maggie Rhodes to a field on November 30, 1988, and raping and suffocating her. Wilson then drove over the girl's body.

Wilson has maintained his innocence since being charged in the crime. Wilson's DNA was found on the girl's body. His fingerprints were found on the apartment's broken bedroom window and Rhodes' hair was found in and on the underside of the car Wilson was driving.

Wilson was tried twice for the murder. His first conviction was thrown out because a juror was improperly dismissed.

Yesterday, in a final statement while strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Wilson spoke to his family and friends while proclaiming his innocence.

''Honey, I love you,'' he said to his wife, Maria. ''Thank you for being there for me and all these people here will find the one who did this damn crime. I am going home to be with God.'' Wilson was the eighth person executed in Texas this year and the 362nd put to death since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982, six years after the US Supreme Court lifted a national death penalty ban, a total that leads the nation.

For his final meal, Wilson requested a cheeseburger, onion rings, a beef enchilada, tea, Coca-Cola, a whole onion, a whole tomato and lemon pie.

REUTERS VJ ND0810

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