- Associated Press - Thursday, August 18, 2011

JARRATT, Va. — A Virginia man who raped and suffocated an 88-year-old widow has become the state’s first inmate executed using a new drug cocktail.

Thirty-year-old Jerry Terrell Jackson was executed by lethal injection at 9:14 p.m. Thursday at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. Jackson was sentenced to death for the August 2001 rape and murder of Ruth Phillips in her Williamsburg apartment.

Asked if he had any final words, Jackson shook his head and said “no” under his breath.

As he waited for the drugs to be administered, he tapped his foot as he lay strapped to a stainless steel gurney. The execution team took about 15 minutes to insert two intravenous lines, one into each arm. Within four minutes of the lines being inserted, he was pronounced dead.

Virginia replaced the sedative sodium thiopental with pentobarbital in the three-drug cocktail after a nationwide shortage of the drug, like other states. While attorneys in some states have contested that drug’s use, federal courts have ruled that the change is not significant enough to stop executions. There have been about 20 executions using pentobarbital.

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