Summary: Jones drove onto the Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas and shortly after 9 pm on February 18, 1995 kidnapped Private Tracie Joy McBride at gunpoint from a laundry room, where she was chatting on the phone with a friend from Minnesota. He brought her to his house and sexually assaulted her. Thereafter, he drove Private McBride to a bridge just outside of San Angelo, where he repeatedly struck her in the head with a tire iron until she died. Petitioner administered blows of such severe force that, when the victim’s body was found, the medical examiners observed that large pieces of her skull had been driven into her cranial cavity or were missing. The next morning, military officials phoned Tracie's parents to say Tracie was missing. Two people had seen a man abduct her the night before. When one man tried to follow, Jones assaulted him, that man later testified. Nearly two weeks after the assault, Jones confessed to killing Tracie and led police to her body under a bridge about 27 miles from San Angelo. Jones admitted that he had sexually assaulted and beaten her to death with a tire iron. Jones served a total of 22 years in the Army as an airborne ranger, had combat duty in Grenada and the Gulf War, and retired as a Master Sergeant. His defense and appeals claimed post-traumatic stress and Gulf War Syndrome from exposure to nerve gas. The claims were rejected by the jury and later by appellate courts.
QUOTE 1: "We're not going to have these constant reminders in the negative sense." Irene McBride is counting on Bush to let the sentence stand. She plans to witness Jones' execution. "We're not looking for comfort out of this," she said. "We're looking for justice. His execution will not bring Tracie back, but it will show us that the justice system in America still works."
QUOTE 2: Irene McBride said she doesn't expect to feel comforted if Jones is put to death. "Nobody's going to win. . . .All this is going to be is justice," she said. Comfort would only come, if when Jones died, "we got Tracie back," she said. The family simply wants to grieve in a normal way "rather than it being brought up over and over and over again," Irene McBride said. The family wants to focus on the happy memories of Tracie: Her energetic smile. The way she loved to make classmates happy by baking chocolate chip cookies so often that she knew the recipe by heart. Her soprano voice at church, she said. How would they feel if, as in Minnesota, the death penalty were not an option and Jones was sentenced to life in prison? "No matter what somebody is convicted of . . . they always try to appeal for something lower," Irene McBride said. "I think it would be worse to think that he could ever get out."
Mike Smith, the family's pastor, describes himself as forgiving but says forgiveness is not an issue here. "This was one of the most heinous crimes," said Smith. "It's not so much vengeance against Louis Jones, but there needs to be justice for the crime -- and justice is the death penalty."
QUOTE 3: "Today was a day of justice for Tracie," Irene McBride, the victim's mother, said after she witnessed the execution. "Today Louis Jones finally was made accountable for his actions, and today he will meet his ultimate judge. Everybody is glad this is over. It's been a long 8 years," she said. "The healing is not over; it's just beginning."
AUTHOR: Irene McBride is the mother of Tracie Joy McBride. She was murdered by Louis Jones, Jr. on 18 February 1995. He was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 18 March 2003.