Jason Reeves, Louisiana

Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019  8:51 am EDT

Jason Manuel Reeves was scheduled to be executed on Monday, August 19, 2019, at 6 pm CDT, at the Louisiana State Penitentiary near Angola, Louisiana. His execution has been stayed. Jason is convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 4-year-old Mary Jean Thigpen on November 12, 2001. Jason has been on death row in Louisiana for the last 15 years.

Jason had a difficult childhood. His parents were separated for a time and his sister, who had a major role in his upbringing, was crushed and killed in front of him by an 18-wheeler when he was about ten. His mother was, allegedly, emotionally abusive to Jason while he was growing up. Jason was also raped as a child. Jason dropped out of school during the 7th grade, where he struggled academically and often received disciplinary punishment. Jason had a juvenile criminal record for burglary. As an adult, he had been twice convicted of indecent behavior with a juvenile, among other crimes. At the time of the crime, Jason was working as an insulator for an insulation company. He had previously worked as a deckhand and on an oil rig.

On November 12, 2001, police received a phone call about a suspicious vehicle loitering in a school parking lot. A short time later, at 5:02 pm, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call from the mother of Mary Jean Thigpen. Mary’s mother had noticed a suspicious vehicle in the trailer park, which was three miles from the school. The vehicle matched the description of the one at the school. Mary was also missing from the home.

Due to the detailed descriptions, police were able to identify the vehicle as belonging to Jason Reeves. On the evening of November 12, 2001, police visited the home where Jason and his mother lived. Police received permission to search the home and vehicle, but found no traces of the missing child. Police asked Jason to come to the sheriff’s office for further questioning. Jason agreed, driving to the station in his own vehicle.

 

Upon arriving, Jason was informed of his rights, which he signed a statement waiving. Police continued to question him about Mary’s disappearance, but Jason denied any involvement with her disappearance. Police continued to search for the missing girl, eventually finding a child sized white tennis shoe and a pair of girls purple pants. Mary’s mother identified them as clothing she was wearing at the time of her disappearance.

 

On the morning of November 13, Jason was taken to the hospital to obtain samples for various forensic tests. He also had a physical examination, which found abrasions on both knees and scratches on his left upper thigh, nose, and arms. Later that same day, he was arrested on an outstanding warrant from another parish. Police continued to interview Jason, who continued to deny any involvement. However, after a detective made a statement that only two people knew what happened to Mary, Jason replied, “Yeah, me and the good Lord.”

 

On November 14, 2001, the Mary’s body was found. She had been stabbed multiple times and evidence showed that she had been sexually abused. Eventually, Jason confessed to kidnapping the girl and attempting to assault her. When she requested he stop, Jason become angry. Jason claims that he does not remember what happened, but agreed that he was the only person who could have stabbed and raped Mary.

 

During his trial, two local school girls testified that Jason attempted to talk to them on the day Mary disappeared. Additionally, a police officer testified that he observed Jason walking to his car and leaving the area where Mary was later discovered.

 

Jason’s execution has been stayed by a federal judge as Jason has not yet completed all his federal appeals. Additionally, the state of Louisiana does not currently have drugs available to carry out an execution. It has been several years since the state carried out an execution.

 

Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Mary. Please pray for strength for the family of Jason. Please pray that if Jason is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Please pray that Jason may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

 

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