Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A twice-convicted killer was released from prison earlier this year under what’s known as a “compassionate release”, because the killer who was sentenced to spend the rest of their life behind bars had been diagnosed with COPD.
Now, the family of one of her victims are outraged over the compassion this murderer is being shown – while their father was shown no compassion from his violent death over 30 years earlier.
Instead of being in prison, 67-year-old Jessie Alexander is now living at her relatives home under a form of hospice care due to her expected death within a year’s time due to the disease often attributed to smoking.
Alexander also murdered her brother in law in 1980 and was placed on probation under a conviction of voluntary manslaughter.
Then, in 1984, she killed again.
Alicia Russell-Jenkins, now 48-years-old, was only 12 when her father was shot in the head by Alexander. Back in 1984, Russell-Jenkins’ father had decided to end an affair with Alexander and in a fit of rage she shot the 33-year-old several time in the head.
Thereafter, Alexander doused the man’s body in acid and dumped his body in a vacant lot in the 4300 block of Rising Sun Avenue. Russell-Jenkins’ father’s body was so mutilated from the shooting and the acid, the family was forced to have his body cremated instead of a proper burial.
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In April of 2020, Alexander was approved to be released to an East Falls hospice facility after her lawyer, Samuel Stretton, petitioned for the move. By July, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn Bronson granted that she be moved in with her family after Stretton presented that petition as well.
Russell-Jenkins is disgusted by the move:
“We’re not talking about a drug dealer. We’re not talking about misdemeanor cases. We’re talking about a sociopath, a live murderer. We don’t feel safe knowing that she’s out here somewhere.”
Now a parent herself, Russell-Jenkins alleges that she was kept in the dark about the whole process until after Alexander’s first release over to the hospice in April.
While the DA’s Office and the state Office of Victim Advocate claim they reached out to Russell-Jenkins prior to the April granting of release, Russell-Jenkins showcased a April letter that was postmarked in May – after Alexander was already granted a compassionate release.
What has Russell-Jenkins all the more furious is that Alexander didn’t just kill once – but was convicted of killing twice:
“If she murdered once, OK, maybe you can forgive her. But then she murdered my father. She’s living in peace after committing two cold-blooded murders.”
After learning about her father’s killer being released and then hearing that she was about to be moved from hospice into homecare to be surrounded by family, Russell-Jenkins, her cousin, and her own daughter petitioned the courts to not grant to move from hospice to homecare.
The judge in the case acknowledged the letters during the July hearing – and still let Alexander go to live with her family.
Alexander’s attorney, Stretton, actually took on the case for free after hearing about this murderer suffering from COPD. Stretton actually said he doesn’t “quite understand” why the family of the victim isn’t considering “forgiveness”:
“She’s served a long time, since 1984 for serious crimes. … I don’t quite understand why victims, after all these years, might not have a little bit of forgiveness. It helps the healing to forgive.”
Yet, this attorney seemingly doesn’t care what Russell-Jenkins is going through, because he says the law “allows” these releases:
“But that’s neither here nor there. This is not a morality play. The statute allows it, and we’re trying to help prisoners who can’t help themselves to die with a little more dignity and less pain.”
Yet Russell-Jenkins’ father was afforded no such “dignity” from Alexander when she shot him in the head numerous times and doused him in acid – just to be discarded in some vacant lot. Maybe that’s why that’s why there’s no room to entertain “forgiveness” from the victim’s family.
Joan Porter, who serves as a volunteer for the Pennsylvania Prison Society, also lent her commentary on the case saying that people “change over time”:
“What she did was terrible, but she’s not that person anymore, and even if she is that person, which I find very difficult to believe, keeping her in jail isn’t going to bring the other families’ family back.”
While Porter may claim that Alexander may not be “that person anymore” that murdered two men, those two victims aren’t alive anymore.
This is most certainly one of the most egregious forms of injustice – affording “compassionate releases” to cold-blooded killers that never extended their victims any such compassion before executing them.
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