Jay pinkerton

jay pinkerton

jay pinkerton
jay pinkerton

Jay Kelly Pinkerton | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers


Date of Execution: May 15, 1986 Offender: Jay Kelly Pinkerton #686 Last Statement:

"Be strong for me," Pinkerton told his father, Gene Pinkerton, as witnesses entered the execution chamber. "I want you to know I’m at peace with myself and with my God," Pinkerton said. He recited a prayer to Allah, the supreme being of Islam. "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. With your praise I ask for forgiveness and I return unto you," Pinkerton said. "I love you, Dad."


At the young age of 17, Jay Kelly Pinkerton raped and murdered two women in Amarillo. Seven years later, at 24, he would become the youngest man ever to be executed in Texas.

On Oct. 26, 1979, Pinkerton brutally killed 30 year-old Sarah Donn Lawrence. He raped then stabbed Lawrence over 30 times. He then raped her again while her children slept down the hall. Pinkerton was arrested in the months that followed and released due to insufficient evidence. Five months later, Pinkerton raped and murdered Sherry Welch, a former beauty queen, at the furniture store she managed.

In May 1981, Pinkerton was convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of Sarah Lawrence due to new evidence found regarding a bloody handprint found on her thigh that matched Pinkerton’s. The trial for the Lawrence murder was moved from Amarillo to Corpus Christi because of a change of venue. On May 30, 1981, a jury of seven men and five women found Pinkerton guilty, and he was sentenced to die.

In April of 1982, he was convicted and given a second life sentence for the murder of Sherry Welch based on bite marks found on Mrs. Welch’s breast that matched teeth impressions of Pinkerton’s. This trial was held in El Paso.

Three days before his scheduled execution, Judge Hayden W. Head Jr. granted Pinkerton a stay. His next date was also stayed 26 minutes before his execution was finally carried out. He was executed by lethal injection on May 15, 1986.

  Pinkerton, Jay Kelly

A native of Amarillo, Texas, born in 1969, Pinkerton had dropped out of school by age 17, to work as an apprentice butcher. On October 26, 1979, a prowler invaded the home of 30-year-old Sarah Lawrence, slashing her throat and stabbing her 30-odd times with a butcher knife, afterward raping her corpse and inflicting grisly post-mortem mutilations. 

Detectives followed a trail of footprints to Pinkerton's house, several blocks away, but he was released for lack of evidence after brief interrogation. Six months later, on April 9, 1980, 25-year-old Sherry Welch, a former beauty queen, was murdered in the back room of an Amarillo furniture store that she managed. Police had no leads in the case, but they were still working on the Lawrence homicide, studying bloody palmprints found on the victim's furniture. The prints were matched in late summer, and Pinkerton was arrested on September 26, charged with one count of first-degree murder. Convicted of the Lawrence murder eight months later, Pinkerton was sentenced to death on May 30, 1981. 

Indictments were returned in the Welch case on July 22 of that year, and Pinkerton celebrated the anniversary of his first murder trial with another conviction, drawing his second death sentence on May 13, 1982. 

Appeals won the killer three stays of execution, once coming within a half-hour of death before the Supreme Court intervened to save his life. A federal appeals court rejected Pinkerton's bid for a fourth stay, on May 14, 1986, and he was executed by lethal injection the following day.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans

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