Former Rapper Ray Jasper has been executed for the 1998 killing of 33 year-old musician and studio owner David Alejandro. Jasper’s execution, via a lethal dose of pentobarbital, was the third execution in Texas thus far in 2014. Texas officials announced that Jasper was executed at 6:31 PM. There were no members of Jasper’s family present at the execution; nor were there any members of David Alejandro’s family present to witness the execution.
Jasper was 18 years old at the time of Alejandro’s murder, which was committed during a robbery of the studio that Alejandro owned. While Jasper testified that he indeed did slash Alejandro’s throat, he insisted that a partner stabbed Alejandro; the stab wounds were what had been determined to be the cause of Alejandro’s death.
Jasper made a minor splash by participating in gawker.com’s Letters From Death Row Series. He sent one final letter to gawker, which he called his ‘final statement on earth’. David Alejandro’s brother, Steven, responded to Jasper’s letter. Steven admitted to not reading Jasper’s letter, but felt he needed to address some misconceptions:
At one point while he was on the stand testifying, he asked to speak to us— David’s family members. He looked us square in the eye and exclaimed “I didn’t kill your son. He was one of the nicest guys I ever met, but I did not kill him.” Jasper’s reasoning was that since the M.E. cited the 25 stab wounds as the cause of death and not the throat slit committed by Jasper, he was technically not guilty of murder. You can make of that what you will, but it seems any reasonable person would hold Jasper as culpable in the murder as the other defendant who finished off David. So the long and short is this final statement is based in a fantasy that Jasper has convinced himself of. All evidence to the contrary, it seems he denies he is a murderer and therefore he feels he should not be executed for the crime.
Steven also cleared up some questions brought about by his testimony during the penalty phase of Jasper’s trial:
When they called me to the stand the defense attorney asked me what my thoughts on the death penalty were. I knew what he was doing. He was hoping I would confess my opposition to the death penalty, thus maybe sparing Ray Jasper’s life. And I could not assist him in good conscience. I’ve thought often in the years since If I did the right thing. If, when push came to shove, I suppressed my own true thoughts in an effort to avenge David’s murder. This is what happened. The defense asked me what my opinion of the death penalty was. And I said, “I don’t think it’s relevant what my opinion is.” And I paused. And I don’t know where it came from, but I then said, “but I can tell you what David thought of the death penalty.” And the defense attorney asked me, “what was David’s opinion?” And I said, “he always told me that if there was no question of the guilt of a murder defendant, that the death penalty was a just punishment.” I’ll never know for sure, but it’s a pretty good bet David’s words uttered through me sealed Ray Jasper’s fate.
Did Steven Alejandro seal Ray Jasper’s fate? Or did Ray Jasper put the needle in his own arm, for want of money?