MISSISSIPPI, USA. JOHN NIXON, 77, EXECUTED
December 14, 2005: John B. Nixon Sr., a 77-year-old convicted hitman, was executed becoming the oldest person in the nation put to death since capital punishment resumed in the US in 1977.
Nixon still claimed innocence as he was strapped to the death chamber gurney, and blamed one of his sons for the 1985 murder of a Mississippi woman.
"I did not kill Virginia Tucker," Nixon said before he was given the lethal injection. "I know within my heart, and it hurts to acknowledge, that it was a son of mine and a Spanish friend and another man from Jackson."
Nixon, a former car mechanic, did not say which son he blamed.
Two of Nixon's sons _ John B. Nixon Jr. and Henry Leon Nixon _ along with Gilbert Jimenez were convicted in the killing but were given lesser sentences. Corrections officials said the sons, now out of prison, had not been in contact with their father.
According to court records, one of Nixon's accomplices wrestled Virginia Tucker to the ground at her Brandon home, and Nixon put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.
Elester Joseph Ponthieux, Virginia Tucker's ex-husband and father of her son, Joey Ponthieux, is serving a life sentence for hiring Nixon for $1,000 to carry out the killing.
Gov. Haley Barbour refused Nixon's request for clemency, and the US Supreme Court on declined to intervene.
Tucker's family did not speak to reporters after the execution, but Joey Ponthieux issued a written statement thanking "God for the opportunity to have lived long enough to witness this day." (Sources: AP, 14/12/2005)