Little more than 24 hours have passed since the execution by lethal injection of Derrick Jackson — and while the national media has placed a spotlight on the 1988 murder of two Houston Grand Opera tenors, the Houston company is remaining silent on Tuesday's silent killing on death row. Taking into consideration that the incident is 22 years removed, a Houston Grand Opera official told CultureMap the organization is opting not to comment on the final chapter of a double murder that went unsolved for seven years.
The trail from the September 11, 1988 incident to yesterday's Huntsville execution was riddled with intrigue. On the evening of the murder, HGO company colleagues Forrest Henderson and Richard Alan Wrotenbery (both 31-years-old) attended a rehearsal of Bizet's Carmen. Wrotenbery, who also taught music at a Deer Park elementary school and was the father of a 1-year-old daughter, was recently divorced and living at Henderson's Greenway Plaza apartment while looking for a new residence.
Wrotenbery returned to the residence while Henderson visited a Montrose gay bar, where he courted Jackson back to the apartment. What precisely transpired between the three men in the apartment is unknown. After Jackson's attack and escape, Henderson was found repeatedly stabbed and bludgeoned, and Wrotenbery's throat had been slashed.
Both victims' wallets were stolen.
"(Henderson) just picked up the wrong person and brought him back to the house," Houston homicide sergeant D.D. Shirley said after Jackson's arrest, which came in 1995 after DNA and more advanced fingerprinting technology not available at the time of the murders led to Jackson. A heavy metal bar was found by police and classified as a weapon. Jackson was sentenced to death in 1998, a full decade after the murders.
The 42-year-old Jackson was reported as "sullenly staring" at the death chamber ceiling when he received his injection at 6:12 p.m. Tuesday, while the HGO tenors' relatives watched from witness rooms just feet away.