When she saw her 24-year-old son sleeping in his brother's bed, Rebecca Alexander grabbed a heavier blanket and tucked it in around him. It was early in the morning in late April 2016, and she'd just gotten up to get ready for work. She was worried when Jubal told her the night before that he'd be working nights at a chemical plant in South Texas and sleeping in his pickup during the day to save money.
"Please, don't do that," she recalled saying to him in her victim impact statement that she read in court last week.
"Don't worry, Mom," he replied, hugging her. "It'll all be OK."
But it wasn't. A fisherman found Jubal Alexander's headless body six days later in his pickup underneath a bridge next to a river. His head was never recovered.
"Although I have experienced loss before, having lost my mom when I was 5 and my dad when I was 20, nothing could have prepared me for the loss of Jubal and particularly in the way he died," Rebecca Alexander said in her victim impact statement. "For anyone to simply say, 'I know what you’re going through,' is an absolute slap in the face. The best description I can give would be hell on Earth."
It was the kind of crime you’d expect to hear from Mexican drug gangs south of the border. Killers there usually place severed heads inside coolers and leave them on doorsteps.
When Jubal Alexander's body was found at the Austin Bayou Bridge near Angleton, some theorized it may have been a drug deal gone bad or that he'd seen something he shouldn’t have seen, like drug or human trafficking. His father, also named Jubal, claimed it was the work of the Islamic state.
"He was murdered in a terroristic way, in a way that is indicative to ISIS," Jubal Alexander Sr. wrote in a May 13, 2016, Facebook post. "They cut his head off and took it. … We should not live in a country where our children and families' heads are cut off. … Please take a stand against extreme Islam."
A community of Muslims lived on the outskirts of Brazoria County. Alexander’s father called it a "jihadist compound" and said people had tried to open an Islamic worship center in Angleton right before his son's murder. Extremist bloggers called it a "terror compound" in false reports online, but it looked more like a trailer park on the outskirts of Denton when the Dallas Observer visited in May 2016.
The Brazoria County Sheriff's Office disagreed with bloggers and Jubal Alexander’s father.
"Buddy, there’s no link to cartels or ISIS other than what’s been put on Facebook," Chris Kincheloe, the captain of investigations, told the Observer in May 2016. "There is no link other than the bizarre way that he was found and he's dead."
He was right. Alexander's killer was found in Lakewood, Colorado, in late May 2016. A known troublemaker with previous run-ins with the law, Zachary Foyt was white and a South Texas local who lived about 17 miles away from the murder site. A tip led to his arrest.
Foyt was questioned, arrested and extradited to Brazoria County. Bail was set at $5 million.
"He thought my son was homeless and would be an easy kill," Jubal Alexander Sr. says. "No one would miss him [because] my son's truck had Mississippi license plates on it. My son had not registered the truck from when he bought it in Mississippi."
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It's still unclear what the killer did with Jubal Alexander's head. Foyt was convicted and sentenced Jan. 26 to life in prison and fined $10,000.
"I know that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes, some worse than others," Rebecca Alexander said in her victim impact statement. "Zachary Foyt's complete disrespect for Jubal's life and the careless discarding of his head as if it means nothing is unforgivable. We couldn't put Jubal completely to rest because of Zachary's actions. We were completely unable to have Jubal's body preserved in any way because of the utterly wicked choice to decapitate him to prevent getting caught.
"Furthermore, we were asked not to have Jubal's remains cremated because there might be a call for exhumation by the defense during a trial," she added. "Not only did Zachary Foyt take my son's life, he continued to victimize him even in death."
In his victim impact statement, Jubal Alexander’s father told Foyt, “On April 27, 2016, my life ended. My eyes were open, my heart was still beating, there was breath in my lungs, and yet my life, a good life, was forever gone. … The dreams of my past were that of my son’s future. He worked every day to follow my path, striving to make me proud. My dream became what he dreamed and aspired to become. Now I dream no more.”