Death Penalty and Death Row in USA

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Information about individuals executed 1999

    Charles Daniel Tuttle, 35, 99-07-1, Texas

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Convicted killer Charles Daniel Tuttle chose to go to the Texas death chamber Thursday evening for fatally beating a Tyler-area woman with a claw hammer more than four years ago during a robbery at her home.
Mr. Tuttle died at 6:28 p.m., seven minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
Mr. Tuttle, who turned 35 last Saturday, refused to allow his attorneys to file appeals on his behalf. He was the 15th prisoner to be executed in Texas this year.
In his final moments, Mr. Tuttle turned his head toward members of the victim's family who watched through a window and apologized for the killing.
"I hope my dropping my appeals has in some way began your healing process. This is all I can do to help you out in any way for the nightmare and pain that I have caused you. I am truly sorry and I wish I could take back what I did, but I can't."
David Dobbs, the assistant Smith County district attorney who prosecuted Mr. Tuttle, said, "You have to in some degree, in some light, commend him for taking responsibility when so many of these whiny killers don't."
Cathy Harris, 42, was beaten to death Feb. 24, 1995, her body wrapped in blankets and stuffed in a closet of her trailer home. Mr. Tuttle, a friend of her nephew's, had been staying at her home but had been asked to leave because he wasn't paying his share of the bills.
The nephew, David Landry, discovered the body. In a conversation early on the day of the murder, Mr. Tuttle told Mr. Landry he had watched the movie Natural Born Killers three times the previous day. The violent 1994 movie is about a pair of serial killers who are glorified by the media.
Four days after the killing, Mr. Tuttle, a former construction worker, was arrested in Beaumont, about 200 miles to the south. He told police he'd been high on methamphetamine and just wanted to knock her out "like you see on TV" to steal from her.
The murder weapon, a claw hammer, was found behind a washer and dryer at the trailer.
Mr. Tuttle requested an extensive final meal that included four fried eggs, four sausage patties, a chicken-fried steak, a bowl of gravy, five pieces of toast, five tacos with meat and cheese, four Dr Peppers and five mint sticks.

    Gary Michael Heidnik, 55, 99-07-06, Pennsylvania

Gary Michael Heidnik, the "House of Horrors" killer convicted of torturing and murdering 2 women in the basement of his Philadelphia home a decade ago, was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday night.
The execution was carried out after the rejection of last-minute appeals to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia and the U.S. Supreme Court by Heidnik's daughter, who fought for years to save Heidnik despite his willingness to die.
Heidnik was pronounced dead around 10:30 p.m. at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview. The scheduled 10 p.m. execution had been delayed because it was shortly before 10 when the Supreme Court said it would not intervene in the case.
Heidnik spent part of his last day listening to country music.
He was the 1st Pennsylvania prisoner executed since 1995, when Keith Zettlemoyer and Leon Moser were put to death. Theirs were the 1st executions in the state since 1962.
The bearded, dark-haired, cold-eyed Heidnik, whose countenance to many matched the horror of his crimes, was a former nurse, an Army veteran and the self-professed leader of his own church whose deftness in playing the stock market made him financially secure.
In 1988, a jury convicted Heidnik of the 1st-degree murders of Deborah Dudley, 23, and Sandra Lindsay, 24, 2 of 6 women he kept as sex slaves in his North Philadelphia basement. Heidnik was arrested in 1987 when one of the women escaped and hailed police.
At Heidnik's trial, survivors testified that when Lindsay died, Heidnik dismembered her with an electric saw, cooked parts of her body and mixed her remains with dog food, which he then fed to the other women.
Heidnik did not fight his execution, but his 21-year-old daughter did - arguing that her father lacked the mental competence to make his own legal decisions.
Maxine Davidson White's efforts 2 years ago succeeded in blocking Heidnik's execution. But last night, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in a 2-1 vote, declined to halt the execution.
White, a Temple University pharmacy student, then asked the full Third Circuit Court to consider the case. When the court refused to do so, White immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court notified the governor's office shortly before 10 p.m. that it would not intervene.
As White pleaded for his life, Heidnik, 55, was transferred from his solitary-confinement cell in Pittsburgh to Rockview, near State College, where 352 others have been executed since 1915.
Placed in a holding cell, Heidnik was cooperative, according to state Department of Corrections spokesman Michael Lukens. "He spent most of the afternoon quiet - he's either lying in bed or pacing."
Given the option of watching television or listening to the radio, Heidnik chose the latter.
At 4:45 p.m., Heidnik was taken to a visiting area, where he spent an hour with his daughter.
Afterward, he had his final meal.
Among the witnesses scheduled to observe Heidnik's execution were 4 of his victims. They were not identified, and were to observe from a separate room not visible to the other witnesses.
His lawyer, A. Charles Peruto Jr., said Heidnik still insisted that he was innocent but that he wanted to be executed, saying that killing an innocent man might end the death penalty. Peruto said he had followed his client's wishes and had done nothing to block the execution.
But working with the Defender Association of Philadelphia - a group that opposes the death penalty - White, who was reared by foster parents and who did not know Heidnik was her father until just before he was arrested, tried repeatedly to gain standing in the case.
After arguments before the Third Circuit 3-judge panel yesterday, an unsigned 4-page majority opinion by Judges Richard L. Nygaard and Samuel A. Alito Jr. quickly dispatched the Heidnik case's long, complex appellate history, which was before the Third Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court in 1997.
The judges wrote that Heidnik's mental competency examinations and hearings earlier this year put the appeal "on a different record and in a different procedural posture."
They wrote that "the factual findings regarding Heidnik's competency are adequately supported by the record." Because Heidnik was deemed competent to waive his appeal rights, the majority held, Heidnik's daughter did not have the legal standing to appeal over her father's objections.
U.S. Circuit Judge Theodore A. McKee dissented because of the "hurried manner in which we have had to decide this incredibly intricate inquiry."
McKee wrote that even lawyers for the commonwealth had conceded that Heidnik's mental condition was not different from 1997, when an earlier Third Circuit panel determined he was mentally incompetent.
McKee added that Heidnik's decision to waive his appeal of his death sentence can be considered rational only if one accepts his "delusional perception" that he is innocent and that allowing the state to kill an innocent man will "end capital punishment once and for all."
"It may well be that today we are writing the final chapter of the terror that was Heidnik," McKee wrote. "However, I share the thoughts so poignantly echoed by [John P. Flaherty Jr.], the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, when he recently wrote . . . that Gary Heidnik . . . `in my view is insane [and] I cannot stand by and say nothing while an insane person is put to death by the state contrary to the mores of civilized society.'"
The Third Circuit made its decision after hearing oral arguments from Deputy Philadelphia District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg and Billy H. Nolas, a public defender specializing in death-penalty cases, who represented White.
Yesterday, as the appeals process continued, state officials prepared for the execution. At the prison, a massive countryside compound of barbed wire and guard towers, extra guards were brought in to deal with protesters and a media center was set up.
Across the street from the prison and down a small hill, police set up 2 protest areas: one for those supporting the execution and one for those opposed to it.
By early evening, only one person had arrived to take advantage of the protest space. A young man who identified himself only as a Pennsylvania State University student held a sign that said, "Stop Hypocrisy."
"I don't think this is an appropriate response to criminal activity," he said. "I in no way support the actions that Gary took and I might even be tempted to say that I could never forgive him if he had done it to my family, but I see this as hypocrisy." Later in the evening, 2 more protesters appeared.
Though no large protests were expected, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference released a statement yesterday calling the death penalty unnecessary and inappropriate.
The Heidnik case has been shocking and controversial from the very first.
In 1987, when investigators went to Heidnik's house, they were stunned to find 3 women naked or partially clothed chained in the basement. The survivors later testified that Heidnik not only kept them restrained in holes filled with water, but that he also periodically shocked them by dropping live electrical wires into the water.
Prosecutors presented even more hideous testimony and evidence at the trial. Heidnik, they said, used a screwdriver to gouge the women's ears and played loud music to prevent them from knowing when he was in the house.
The survivors said Heidnik killed Dudley by touching the live wires to her while she was in a water-filled pit. The jury was told Lindsay died while her arm was attached to a rafter in the basement. Policediscovered Lindsay's limbs in Heidnik's freezer.
Heidnik was just hours away from being put to death in 1997 when the state Supreme Court issued a stay, pending a competency hearing. Since then, various appeals court judges at the state and federal levels have said Heidnik was competent to make his own decisions.
Gov. Ridge signed a death warrant for Heidnik on May 12 - one of 163 he has signed since taking office in 1995. Almost all of them have been blocked as the condemned prisoners have pursued various appeals. There are now 227 others on death row in Pennsylvania.
Heidnik becomes the 1st condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Pennsylvania and the 3rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1995.
(sources: Philadelphia Inquirer and Rick Halperin)

    Tyrone Fuller, 35, 99-07-07, Texas

The 1st Texas death row inmate to have DNA evidence used to convict him of capital murder was executed Wednesday night for the rape-slaying of a northeast Texas woman more than 11 years ago.
Tyrone Fuller, 35, was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m., 8 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
Looking frightened, he had a brief statement. He expressed love to his family, who watched through a window a few feet away as he gasped and coughed a few times before dying.
"Please do not mourn my death or my life. I hold no bitterness toward no one," Fuller said. "Just remember the light. I'm going to let this light shine. Remember to let the light shine."
5 members of the victim's family also watched as he was put to death but he made no eye contact with them.
Fuller, whose nickname for himself was "Evil" and who was on parole at the time of the murder, was convicted of attacking and killing Andrea Lea Duke during a burglary at her Paris home Jan. 20, 1988.
Beaten with a blunt object, whipped with an electrical cord, stabbed numerous times and raped, the 26-year-old medical technologist crawled from her duplex before dying on the front steps of her neighbor's home, where her body was found the next morning.
A pathologist determined she likely lived for several hours after the attack but couldn't scream for help because one of the 44 stab wounds severed her vocal chords. She received 3 other potentially fatal stab wounds to the chest.
"It was one of the most horrible murder cases I tried in the 20 years I was the district attorney," Tom Wells, the former Lamar County prosecutor, said this week. "The senselessness of it, the torturing nature of the way they killed her. It was pretty bad."
Fuller and 2 accomplices drove off with her car, jewelry and credit cards. Fuller was arrested after using the credit cards in Dallas, about 100 miles to the southwest.
He had been paroled 26 months earlier after serving less than 2 1/2 years of a 12-year sentence for burglary. It was his 2nd prison term for burglary.
At his 1989 trial, prosecutors used the then-new technology of DNA testing on body fluids and hairs recovered from the victim to tie Fuller to her attack and murder. The tests also eliminated Fuller's 2 companions as participants in the woman's rape.
"When this first started, we thought Fuller was going to be a lesser player and we thought we'd make a deal with him," Wells said. "When the DNA results came back, all of a sudden he jumped from being somebody involved into the lead player."
A bloody footprint found in the victim's home also was linked to Fuller and prosecutors had evidence he used the victim's credit cards. His fingerprints were found in her car, which was discovered a block from his home in Paris.
One of Fuller's companions, John McGrew, received a life prison term in a plea bargain. Charges against a 3rd man were dropped because there was no evidence to tie him to the crime, authorities said.
Wells said the woman's attackers apparently targeted her after breaking into her car the previous week, stealing her purse and finding her address. Then they stalked her and waited until she was home alone.
A psychiatrist testifying at his trial described Fuller as so antisocial that on a scale of 10 he would rank a 12 or 13. Defense attorneys argued Fuller came from a dysfunctional family where his mother had stabbed and shot his father in separate incidents.
Last week, convicted killer Charles Daniel Tuttle received a lethal injection for fatally beating a Tyler-area woman with a claw hammer more than 4 years ago during a robbery at her home.
Another execution is set for July. Reginald Reeves, 25, faces injection July 21 for the 1993 rape and strangling of a 14-year-old girl whose body was found dumped in a vacant home in Clarksville in Red River County.
Fuller becomes the 16th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, and the 180th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Norman Lee Newsted, 45, 99-07-08, Oklahoma

In Oklahoma early Thursday, a man convicted of killing a Tulsa taxi driver in 1984 during a robbery was executed by injection.
Norman Lee Newsted, 45, was condemned for the Feb. 20, 1984, killing of Buckley, 26. He hailed Buckley at Tulsa International Airport and asked the driver to take him to his sister's house.
Testimony at trial indicated they stopped at Calvary Temple Assembly of God to ask for directions, where Newsted made a phone call, then returned to the cab and shot Buckley twice in the back of the head.
The church pastor found the cab, with Buckley's body inside, in a creek near the church the next day.
Investigators said Newsted was arrested at his sister's home with Buckley's empty wallet nearby. Newsted maintained he shot Buckley in self-defense.
The state Pardon and Parole Board denied clemency after a June 15 hearing.
In a statement, Buckley's survivors said they hoped the execution would bring closure to 15 years of pain, anger and grief.
"Larry will always be in our prayers and hearts and only now will he rest in peace," the family said.
Newsted claimed he shot Buckley because the cabbie tried to rob him.
Newsted becomes the 4th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma, and the 17th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Allen Lee Davis, 54, 99-07-08, Florida

Florida's 1st use of its new electric chair turned bloody Thursday with the execution of a 350-pound inmate for the murders of a woman and her 2 daughters 17 years ago.
Blood poured from the mouth and oozed from the chest of Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis as he was hit with 2,300 volts at 7:10 a.m.
By the time he was pronounced dead at 7:15 a.m., the blood from his mouth had poured out onto the collar of his white shirt, and the blood on his chest had spread to about the size of a dinner plate, even oozing through the buckle holes on the leather chest strap holding him to the chair.
There was no immediate explanation for the bleeding, believed to be a 1st for the 44 Florida executions since executions resumed in 1979.
The new chair in which he died replaced "Old Sparky," which had been used to execute more than 200 people since 1923.
Corrections officials said the old chair was falling apart; it had also raised concern after a 1997 execution in which flames up to a foot long shot from the head of the condemned man, Pedro Medina.
Lawyers for Davis had appealed unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court, saying the voltage in the old chair during four executions last year fell short of the amount needed to kill painlessly, especially for a man the size of Davis. While the chair itself is new, the electrical equipment is the same equipment that was on "Old Sparky."
The execution was 1 of 3 in the United States in Wednesday and today.
Davis was brought into the death chamber in a wheelchair. 2 prison officers helped him into the electric chair shortly after 7 a.m., and he was strapped in, his head covered with a thick chin strap and leather flap.
2 muffled screams were heard from Davis just before the executioner through the switch. Davis jolted back into the chair and clinched his fist, a sight common to Florida executions. Then he started to bleed.
Davis was condemned for the May 11, 1982, slayings of Nancy Weiler, who was 3 months pregnant, and her 2 daughters. He battered Mrs. Weiler, 37, with his pistol until her face was nearly unrecognizable.
Kristina Weiler, one day from her 10th birthday, was shot twice, her hands tied behind her back. 5-year-old Katherine was shot in the back as she ran away, then savagely beaten.
(source: Associated Press)

    Tommy David Strickler, 33, 99-07-21, Virginia

A Virginia man who abducted a 19-year-old college student and crushed her head with a boulder was executed by lethal injection Wednesday night, a prison spokesman said.
Tommy David Strickler, 33, was put to death hours after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a last-ditch appeal and Virginia Gov. James Gilmore rejected a clemency petition that alleged his accomplice committed the murder.
"I am innocent. I did not do it. I hope everyone else will find the peace that I have found," Strickler said before he was injected with a dose of lethal chemicals at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va., about 55 miles south of Richmond.
Strickler was sentenced to die for murdering Leann Whitlock, a James Madison University sophomore he and an accomplice, Ronald Lee Henderson, kidnapped from a Harrisonburg, Va., mall in early January 1990.
Whitlock was found slain in a rural area of Augusta County in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, her head crushed by a 69-pound boulder. Her car, credit cards and purse had been stolen.
In a separate trial, Henderson, 33, also was convicted of the robbery, abduction and murder and sentenced to 3 life terms. He will be eligible for parole on July 29, 2008.
Strickler spent his final day on death row visiting with his mother, sisters, clergy and his attorney.
Before his execution, he also said: "to all of my family, I love them dearly. I will always be with them."
Strickler becomes the 9th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia, and the 68th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. Only Texas has executed more (180) people than Virginia.
(sources: Reuters and Rick Halperin)

    Ricky Blackmon, 41, 99-08-04, Texas

Convicted murderer Ricky Blackmon was executed Wednesday night for hacking to death an East Texas man with a 3-foot-long sword fashioned from a steel sawmill blade.
Blackmon, 41, was the 1st of 6 Texas death row inmates expected to receive lethal injection over the next 2 weeks.
Blackmon had no last words as the deadly chemical cocktail began flowing, but earlier released a prepared statement that asked people to view the Internet website of a church in Huntsville.
"Use this to teach others about what not to do and pray God receives the glory, not me," he said.
As the drugs were being administered, Blackmon obviously choked up, sobbing, then closed his eyes and gasped twice as a muscle in his neck began twitching.
8 minutes later, a tear still running from his right eye, he was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m. CDT.
"I wouldn't want to call it relief," Thomasine Crow, the victim's mother, said of the execution. "I think there is justice that needs to be met and I think this is what needs to be done. Nothing can bring Carl back. Nothing can ever ease that pain completely. This is what he (Blackmon) did and this is what needs to be done."
She met Blackmon recently and the prisoner told her he deserved to die and apologized for killing her son.
"I can hate Ricky Blackmon and be miserable and bitter the rest of my life or I can accept the apology and learn to be happy with that and go on," she said. "And that is what I choose to do."
"I'm happy, honestly happy," Blackmon said in a recent interview. "God has said to me: `Ricky, this is your ticket home.' And I'm going home."
"God's grace transcends all," John Walker, the former Shelby County district attorney who prosecuted Blackmon in 1987, said when told Blackmon had embraced religion. "I hope he has made peace with God and has his soul secure. But he still has to pay the civil penalty.
"The civil authority has authority," Walker added. "Grace and forgiveness is up to God and that's not my job as a prosecutor."
Blackmon was sentenced to death for killing Carl Rinkle, 26, at Rinkle's Shelby County home in far East Texas the night of March 28, 1987, and taking more than $600 in cash, a small pistol, some jewelry and cowboy boots.
The murder weapon was a sawtooth-edge steel sword the former mill worker made himself. Rinkle's skull and throat were slashed, then he was stabbed 21 times in the back with a large hunting knife.
"All you have to do is look at the pictures," Walker said. "Not only was it a murder, it was an unbelievably vicious murder."
Blackmon, from Mount Pleasant, blamed a girlfriend, jealousy, drugs and a need for some quick cash for the attack that left Rinkle butchered.
"I put myself here," he said. "I, Ricky Blackmon, put myself on death row. I could have avoided it, but I was too much into the 'self' syndrome. ... I was more interested in myself."
Blackmon's girlfriend, Donna Mae Rogers, seen with the victim earlier in the evening, was arrested and led police to Blackmon, who was arrested while working as a cook in a Dallas restaurant.
According to Blackmon, he and Ms. Rogers, who wound up with a life prison term, were living out of his 8-year-old Oldsmobile Cutlass in Dallas and needed money. They drove to Shelby County, an area she was familiar with, to rob a liquor store. When they found the store closed, they turned their attention to Rinkle, whom Ms. Rogers knew and found at a bar.
She accompanied Rinkle back to his house where Blackmon, wearing a black hooded ninja outfit and wielding his medieval-style sword, walked in on them.
"I went to work on that boy and didn't know what I was doing," Blackmon said.
The son of a preacher, Blackmon said he spurned his father's teachings until he arrived on death row and found religion. He was looking forward to death.
"I want young people to hear my voice and know that being rebellious can kill you," he said. "It breaks my heart. They think this is bad? This (death row) is a summer camp compared to what hell is going to be.
"I can't touch my mother. I can't even shake your hand. I can shake hands with other people that's in here like me. It's just a cheap substitute of a human emotion. That can't replace mama."
On Thursday, another convicted killer, Charles Boyd, was set to die for strangling and drowning a woman who lived across from him at a Dallas apartment complex. It was 1 of 3 women Boyd confessed to killing in a series of similar slayings.
Blackmon becomes the 17th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 181st overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Charles Anthony Boyd, 39, 99-08-05, Texas

An ex-convict who confessed to killing 3 women during a 10-month spree that became known as the North Dallas "bathroom slayings" was executed Thursday evening.
Charles Anthony Boyd, 39, became the 2nd convicted killer to die in as many days in Texas and the 2nd of 6 death row inmates the state is set to execute within a 14-day period this month.
Boyd initially declined to make a final statement. But, as the drugs began flowing into his arms, he said, "I want you all to know I did not do this crime. I asked for a 30-day stay for a DNA test so you know who did the crime."
Then he gasped and slipped into unconsciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. CDT, 9 minutes after the lethal dose started.
Boyd was condemned for strangling and drowning 21-year-old Mary Milligan at her apartment April 13, 1987. A recent Texas Tech University graduate, she had moved to Dallas to take a job as a bank management trainee.
Boyd was arrested the day after Ms. Milligan's murder when jewelry and other items taken from her apartment were pawned. The former bank janitor lived across the hall from her.
He also became a suspect after detectives learned of his past. Boyd had previous convictions for burglary and sexual assault and had been released from prison in November 1985 after serving less than half of a 5-year sentence.
Ms. Milligan's parents, sister and a cousin were among the people to watch Boyd die.
"Our family has been in tremendous pain over the last 12 years since our daughter and sister was murdered," they said in a prepared statement. "This execution tonight will do nothing to restore our family as it was with her love, her laughter, her caring support for each of us and her joy in it.
"We are relieved that no one else's family will have to suffer as all of us who loved Mary have had to do at the hands of Charles Boyd who has blatantly disregarded the laws of God, the laws of man and the value of human life."
According to court records, Boyd was living with his brother from July to September 1986 at the Woodstock Apartments in northeast Dallas.
In July, Tippawan Nakusan, 37, who lived upstairs from Boyd and worked as a waitress, was found stabbed and suffocated in her bathtub.
That September, Lashun Chappell Thomas, 22, a nursing home aide, was found fatally stabbed and in a bathtub in the apartment complex.
Then Ms. Milligan was killed in similar fashion at an apartment complex where Boyd lived.
"I can't think about him without thinking about their families," Kevin Chapman, the former assistant district attorney in Dallas who prosecuted Boyd, said this week.
Chapman said he remains haunted particularly by the slaying of Ms. Nakusan, an immigrant from Thailand whose relatives authorities never were able to contact.
"I wonder if her family wonders what ever happened to their little girl," he said. "(Boyd) is the type this punishment was made for. If it's justified for anybody, Charlie deserves it. He had a 2nd chance. He had a job. He had a place to live. All he had to do is not kill people. And that's not too much to ask."
Apartment complex residents accustomed to lounging by the pool and leaving their doors unlocked were terrorized.
After his arrest, Boyd confessed and was charged with all 3 slayings but tried only for Ms. Milligan's killing. Besides tying him to items taken from the apartment and his confession, prosecutors also had forensic evidence from Ms. Milligan's apartment to link him to her death.
"It was a strong case, I thought a case with no issues," Chapman said. "The evidence was overwhelming."
In appeals following his capital murder conviction, Boyd unsuccessfully contended he was mentally retarded and his attorneys should not have allowed his confessions to be used against him. His trial attorneys, however, told the court they did not believe he was retarded and it was not an issue.
In a February ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, saying a trial jury was not likely to find him innocent because of the "cold-blooded nature of the murder and Boyd's other violent conduct."
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier Thursday refused to review Boyd's case.
Boyd becomes the 18th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 182nd overall since Texas resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Victor Kennedy, 37, 99-08-06, Alabama

Victor Kennedy, 1 of 2 men convicted of raping and suffocating an elderly Shelby County woman on Christmas Eve 1980, died in Alabama's electric chair at Holman Prison early Friday.
Kennedy, 37, was pronounced dead at 12:11 a.m. Friday, Department of Corrections officials said. He was the 1st person executed for killing Annie Laura Orr, 86, of Montevallo, in a robbery attempt. A co-defendant is awaiting execution.
Just before the execution was carried out, a somber Kennedy sat quietly in the electric chair. He made a brief final statement, which wasn't audible to reporters. But Holman Warden Charlie Jones said Kennedy thanked his supporters and wanted Mrs. Orr's family to know he was sorry.
As the current was switched on, Kennedy's body jerked upward and his fists clenched.
His attorney, LaJuana Davis of Montgomery, had no reaction after the execution.
The Orr family, in a statement read after the execution, criticized the lengthy appeals process. It took 17 years for Kennedy's sentence to be carried out.
Mrs. Orr's granddaughter and a grandson by marriage witnessed the execution.
Earlier Thursday, the Alabama Supreme Court denied an appeal and a request for a stay of execution, prison system spokesman Tom Gilkeson said.
Prosecutors said Kennedy and co-defendant Darrell Grayson were looking for money when they entered Mrs. Orr's home in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve 1980. She was beaten and a gun was fired into the wall to intimidate her, said Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw. Both men raped her, Crenshaw said, and she died after they put a pillowcase over her head and wrapped her head, mummy-fashion, in masking tape.
Kennedy was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1982.
Kennedy, also from Montevallo, spent his last day visiting with his mother, Mary L. Williams, and his 2 teen-age sons.
Grayson, 19 at the time of Mrs. Orr's slaying, was also convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. His appeal has been pending for about 3 years before a federal judge.
Lee Binion of Birmingham, who was 22 when her grandmother was slain, earlier said she planned to witness Kennedy's execution.
"This is not about retribution. This is about seeing justice done," she told The Birmingham News in a story published Thursday. "I want him to know I am there, and I want to see the coroner pick his wrist up and tell me he's dead."
Milton Orr Jr., Miss Binion's uncle and a former Montevallo mayor, found his mother's body. "It was terrible," he said. "They raped her and rolled her up in a sheet."
He said he would not attend Kennedy's execution. "I knew those boys," he said of Kennedy and Grayson. "Neither one of them was any good."
The 2 had done occasional odd jobs for Mrs. Orr, according to trial testimony.
Gov. Don Siegelman denied Kennedy clemency Wednesday afternoon.
"It is clear to me that Mr. Kennedy participated in this most heinous crime, and that the death penalty is appropriate," Siegelman said.
Kennedy's attorney, LaJuana Davis of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, said Thursday she did not know clemency had been denied until she saw a newspaper article. She said Siegelman's office had shown a "lack of regard" for failing to notify her promptly.
Siegelman spokeswoman Kristin Carvell said letters to Ms. Davis and the state attorney general's office were sent Wednesday before reporters were notified of the governor's decision. "It's the same way we've always done it," she said. "There may have been a problem with the mail."
An anti-death penalty group had appealed to Siegelman for clemency on Kennedy's behalf. Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty raised questions of racial unfairness in Kennedy's case, noting that Kennedy, a black man, was convicted by an all-white jury for murdering a white victim. A vigil was planned in Birmingham's Kelly Ingram Park at 11:45 p.m. Thursday.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Kennedy's case in April. In 1994, a federal judge granted him a new trial based on claims the prosecution failed to turn 2 of Grayson's statements over to Kennedy's defense lawyers during his trial. That ruling was overturned in 1995 by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the statements would have helped prosecutors more than the defense.
Kennedy becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Alabama, and the 19th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on April 22, 1983.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

Associated Press, August 6, 1999
Family members of a slain 86-year-old Montevallo woman said justice was done when her killer was executed Friday, but they said it never should have taken 17 years for Victor Kennedy to die in Alabama's electric chair.
Charles Preston said the family of Annie Laura Orr believes the legal process needs to be streamlined. Kennedy's lengthy stay on death row "cost the taxpayers of the state dearly," he said.
Kennedy, 37, died at 12:11 a.m. at Holman Prison in Atmore. Only 18 at the time of the crime, he and another man were convicted of beating, raping and suffocating Mrs. Orr, the widow of a former University of Montevallo dean.
Preston, married to one of Mrs. Orr's granddaughters, read a prepared statement after the execution as another relative held up a picture of the victim.
"Her family has finally received the last full measure of justice that she and we so richly deserve. A few moments ago, a long struggle was ended," said Preston.
Prosecutors said Kennedy and Darrell Grayson, then 19, wanted money when they entered the home where Mrs. Orr lived on Christmas Eve 1980. The elderly woman, who lived alone, had no money, but was beaten and raped by both men. She died when Kennedy and Grayson put a pillowcase over her head and wrapped it, mummy-fashion, in masking tape, prosecutors said.
The 2 men had occasionally performed odd jobs for Mrs. Orr, according to trial testimony. Grayson was also convicted in the slaying and sentenced to death. His appeal is pending before a federal judge.
Preston had no reaction as he watched a somber Kennedy in the moments before the execution.
Wearing thick-lensed glasses that sat crooked on his face, Kennedy closed his eyes tightly and moved his lips at one point as if he were praying.
His last words, spoken to Holman Warden Charlie Jones, were not audible. Jones said Kennedy wanted Mrs. Orr's family to know he was sorry and thanked his lawyer, LaJuana Davis of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, for her support.
Kennedy's body stiffened and his fists clenched as the current was switched on.
Corrections officials said Kennedy left most of his belongings, including pictures, letters and a Bible, to his mother, Mary L. Williams of Montevallo. He also gave some possessions to other death row inmates, said Jones.
Kennedy spent his last day visiting with Ms. Williams, along with his 2 sons and a Pentecostal minister requested by Ms. Williams. None of Kennedy's family members witnessed the execution.

    Kenneth Dwayne Dunn, 39, 99-08-10, Texas

A 9th-grade dropout who shot a bank teller to death the day after she picked out her wedding dress was executed by injection on Tuesday.
Kenneth Dwayne Dunn, 39, was the 3rd man executed in Texas in the last week; 3 more are set to die in the next 8 days.
Dunn was pronounced deat at &:30 p.m., 6 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began. His eyes flutterd, he gasped twice, the muscles in his arms tightened and then there was no further movement.
Dunn declined to make a final statement. When the warden asked whether he's like to say anything, Dunn shook his head.
On March 17, 1980, Dunn walked into a Houston-area bank where he had been seen before as a customer. This time he was armed with a .357-caliber Magnum revolver and demanded money from each teller.
Witnesses said 21-year-old Madeline Peters, known to her friends and co-workers as "Smiley" and planning for her upcoming wedding, was on the phone and unaware of the robbery. When Dunn reached her window and ordered her to put cash in a bag, she responded, "What?"
He fired, killing her with one shot to her head. Dunn then warned other bank workers and customers to not follow him as he fled with almost $12,000.
"Her wedding dress was in a box open behind her," prosecutor Joe Magliolo, a former Harris County assistant district attorney who helped prosecute Dunn, recalled Tuesday. "I guess she had been showing it to all her girlfriends. When she got popped, it blows her brains and blood all over the wedding dress. It was such a needless killing...I remember the picture of that wedding dress behind the girl."
3 months later, with less than $30 left, Dunn surrendered to the FBI in St. Louis. He had been traveling the country.
Dunn was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in a November 1980 trial that was marked by repeated outbursts that required his removal from the courtroom.
7 years later, his conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals because a few pages of notes from the trial were lost by the court reporter.
At his 1988 retrial, Dunn served as his own attorney and tried to convince a jury that his pistol might not have been pointed directly at Ms. peters when she was shot, meaning he did not deliberately commit the crime.
"There wasn't a mad dog in there looking for somebody to shoot," he told the jurors. "I ask that you consider that as reasonable doubt."
Witnesses, however, told how calm he acted. And prosecutors presented a letter he wrote before turning himself in, confessing to the robbery and promising to live the rest of his life as a bank robber.
The jury deliberated 6 minutes before returning a guilty verdict. They took another 20 minutes to decide on the death sentence.
While in prison, Dunn attacked guards numerous times and set fire to his cell. He also was stabbed by another inmate in a fight.
11 years after the 2nd trial, Charles Peters, the victim's father, said he would attend the execution, but was frustrated by the slow pace of Dunn's case through the appeals process.
"It's just absolutely unbelievable," he said. "We waited and waited and waited and nothing was happening. I bugged the courts, bugged everybody...The families (of victims) are stuck."
"It doesn't change anything," Peters said of Dunn's execution. "It just ends another worry about him getting out and doing this to somebody else...It is not going to bring my daughter back."
"When you lose half your kids, it's like losing half your life," the father of 2 said. "We think about her all the time."

Asked what he would tell Dunn if he could speak with him, Peters replied: "Rot in hell."
Dunn selected entertainers Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson as witnesses for his execution. In court documents during his appeal, Dunn contended Michael Jackson had a videotape of the fatal shooting that would exonerate him. Prosecutors argued no tape existed and Dunn was trying to feign a mental illness so his execution would be delayed.
Moments before Dunn could have been taken to the death chamber, he delivered to prison officials a 65-page handwritten appeal to be faxed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, delaying the execution past its 6 p.m. CDT scheduled time. The court rejected his appeal and the death warrant remained in effect until midnight.
On Tuesday, The U.S. Supreme Court refused to delay the execution set for Wednesday evening for James Otto Earhart, a Bryan-area junk dealer. Earhart was set to die for the abduction and fatal shooting of a 9-year-old girl in 1987.
Dunn becomes the 19th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 183rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Dunn also becomes the 57th condemned inmate to be executed from Harris County (Houston). The total is 2nd only to the state of Virginia's 68 executions.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    James Otto Earhart, ?, 99-08-11, Texas

A junk dealer, memorable to witnesses because of his 400-plus-pound size and grubby appearance, was executed Wednesday evening for abducting and fatally shooting a 9-year-old girl more than a dozen years ago.
James Otto Earhart was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., 10 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began. When the warden asked whether Earhart wanted to make a final statement, Earhart replied, "No. No, sir."
He was arrested after authorities found the decomposing body of Kandy Janell Kirtland two weeks after she disappeared from her Bryan home.
Neighbors saw her get off her school bus for the short walk home, where she last was seen talking to a huge man with a stubby beard and dirty clothes. When her parents returned home from work May 12, 1987, their latchkey child was gone.
"Having your child murdered, having your child brutally murdered ... the effect it has on a person's life who happens to be her mother, it can't be described," Jan Brown, Kandy's mother, said Wednesday. "I've been there and can't even describe it.
"The only meaning this day has for me is that tomorrow I will not get a phone call ... that his conviction has been overturned and he's getting a new trial."
"It was every parent's nightmare," Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner recalled. "That strikes at the heart of every family, I suppose. You're going to come home and find your child - and you don't."
Parents were frightened. Nothing like this ever had happened in Bryan. Photographs flooded the area of the brown-haired, blue-eyed girl who sang in her church choir.
2 weeks later, Kandy's decomposing body was found partially covered by brush in a wooded area a few miles from her home. Her hands were tied behind her back. An autopsy determined she had been shot once in the head with a .22-caliber handgun.
"It struck me she was such a fragile human," Turner said. "I have daughters of my own. You link up pretty quick. And to mix that with the horrible crime scene that we saw, it's just one of those things that's hard to come to grips with.
"This was a 9-year-old girl. Best I can tell, the last thing she probably saw, her hands tied behind her back, was his gun. It's just a horrible picture in your mind."
Earhart had visited the Kirtland home a week before the girl disappeared to look at a paint sprayer the family was selling. He and Joseph Kirtland, Kandy's father, couldn't agree on a price but that's where Earhart apparently first noticed the girl.
At 5-feet-9, his weight at the time estimated at more than 400 pounds and with what prison officials say is a 56-inch waist, Earhart was not easy to miss.
Witnesses supplied information about his car and police tracked it to Earhart's ramshackle home near downtown Bryan, six blocks from the police station. He wasn't there, but authorities found news articles about the girl's disappearance and literature about bondage.
Police found him sleeping in a car in the Sam Houston National Forest near Huntsville. A .22-caliber handgun was in the car.
He told authorities he had picked up the girl and drove her around but said he dropped her off and denied killing her. However, blood on clothing found in his car matched that of the victim and bullets remaining in the gun matched bullet fragments taken from the girl's skull. Prosecutors believed his motive was to sexually assault the girl.
"I'm not a proponent of the death penalty, never have been," Ms. Brown, Kandy's mother, said. "But I've been removed from the process of having to decide. All I know, there's a lot of people who worked hard and long for me to show up. I can't stop it.
"The worse part, if I were to get angry at something, it would be the length of time it takes. It seems to me these (prisoners) are coddled. He issues a statement. They write it down and hand it to me. My daughter's last words - probably 'Please don't shoot me!' - and nobody got to record that or even see it with him.
"It doesn't seem fair at all," she continued. "They've spent millions of dollars on him. That bothers me a lot. I think that's a terrible injustice that we put people in prison and then we just take care of them.... The system sucks."
Earhart becomes the 20th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year and the 184th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Marlon DeWayne Williams, 26, 99-08-17, Virginia

A man who fatally shot a woman after being paid $4,000 by the woman's husband was executed by injection Tuesday.
Marlon DeWayne Williams, 26, killed Helen Bedsole in a murder-for-hire arranged by her husband. Williams was pronounced dead at 9:03 p.m., said Chief Warden David Garraghty.
Williams, who was shaking from the moment he entered the death chamber, did not make a final statement.
Williams pleaded guilty to the Nov. 9, 1993, shooting death of Mrs. Bedsole. Clark Bedsole was convicted by a jury and is serving a life term.
The Bedsoles were in the middle of a divorce when Bedsole paid Williams to kill his wife.
Williams becomes the 10th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia and the 69th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. Only Texas, with 184 executions, has put more condemned inmates to death since 1976.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Joe Mario Trevino Jr., 37, 99-08-18, Texas

Parolee Joe Mario Trevino Jr. was executed Wednesday for the rape-murder of a Tarrant County grandmother during a burglary of her home more than 16 years ago.
Trevino was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m., 8 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
When a warden asked whether he had a final statement, Trevino said, "No." He took couple of gasps and then stopped moving.
Trevino, 37, had been out of prison 4 months after serving less than 2 years of a 5-year term for burglary and auto theft in Harris County when he was arrested for killing Blanche Miller, 80, at her home in Haltom City near Fort Worth.
"Blanche Miller was our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother," her family said in a statement released after Trevino's death. "She was almost an innocent and her biggest adventure in a week was probably ladies' Bible class. She has been in the cemetery 16 1/2 years.
"Her family feels that Trevino's death sentence is justified and past due!"
The execution was scheduled for 24 hours after another inmate, Larry Robison, was set to die for another Tarrant County murder, 1 of 5 he committed during a rampage at a pair of cottages near Fort Worth.
Robison, 42, was spared when attorneys appealed that questions of his mental competence needed to be investigated. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed in a 5-4 vote that returned Robison to death row about four hours before he could have gone to the death house gurney.
Robison's case attracted notoriety after his relatives and death penalty opponents used it to challenge Gov. George W. Bush's presidential campaign theme of being a "compassionate conservative," arguing the inmate deserved treatment for mental illness and not execution.
The court ruling, however, put off the need for Bush to make a decision on whether to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve, the only action a Texas governor independently can take. Bush never has used the authority during his 4 1/2 years in office and Trevino would be the 99th convicted killer to be executed during his terms.
Bush was campaigning out of state Wednesday and left any decision on a temporary reprieve for Trevino to Lt. Gov. Rick Perry.
Trevino's case carried none of the hoopla associated with Robison.
Besides Bush's absence, the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday rejected an appeal and refused to stop the punishment. There were no questions about his mental competence and death penalty opponents mounted no vocal campaign on his behalf.
"He was pulling a two-bit burglary," Rufus Adcock, the former Tarrant County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Trevino, said this week. "He was back on drugs. That morning he had used both cocaine and heroin."
In a recent interview on death row, Trevino acknowledged the drug use but insisted he was only a lookout and driver for an accomplice who actually killed Ms. Miller. The accomplice, he said, later was shot and killed.
"I was totally blitzed," he said. "I didn't rape and kill her. That's the whole thing. I don't mind dying for my participating in it, but kill me for what I did, not for what I'm accused of doing. I was just the driver."
Adcock said witnesses and evidence all pointed to Trevino as the lone murderer and dismissed any claim of an accomplice.
"I never heard that before," said the prosecutor, now retired.
Ms. Miller, who lived alone, was out drying clothes the afternoon of Jan. 17, 1983, before she walked in on Trevino, who was inside looking for valuables.
According to his confession to police, she already had surrendered jewelry and silverware and he was loading his car with stereo equipment when she grabbed a phone to call for help.
"I took the phone away from her and went crazy," Trevino said in the confession.
The woman's granddaughter found her body later that day and a witness who recognized Trevino and saw him at the house notified police. When police went to his house, they found the woman's stereo there. Body fluids and footprints at the murder scene linked Trevino to the crime.
"The tragedy of this whole thing was he could have walked right past her," Adcock said, saying the woman probably wouldn't have even noticed him because of her poor vision. "Her glasses were thick. He didn't have to kill her. He just did it because she interfered with his burglary."
"I'm not trying to justify my actions," Trevino said. "Life is about choices. I made the wrong choice."
Trevino becomes the 21st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 185th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    David R. Leisure, 49, 99-09-01, Missouri

David R. Leisure, condemned for the mob-related car bombings that rocked St. Louis in the early 1980s, went to his death quietly today in the execution chamber of the Potosi Correctional Center.
Strapped to a gurney, Leisure looked haggard and unshaven. He mouthed a few words of goodbye to his sister watching from a viewing box as the first in a series of lethal drugs raced into his veins. A priest hugged the sister, then said a prayer.
Leisure's final words, according to prison officials, were: "I am innocent man. The lawyer who represented me was on drugs. Tell my children, family and relatives I love them."
Leisure's chest heaved, he blinked his eyes and coughed hard. Then, he fell silent. He was pronounced dead at 2:17 a.m., 4 minutes after the procedure began.
The execution had been delayed 2 hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a last-ditch appeal, in which Leisure's court-appointed appeals team argued he was retarded and not mentally fit for execution. The high court turned down the request at 1:10 a.m.
Leisure, 49, became the 1st organized-crime figure in the United States to be executed since 1944.
Security was tighter than ever outside the prison. Twice the normal number of highway patrol troopers, sheriffs deputies and a special squad of prison guards patrolled the grounds. Every vehicle that drove onto the prison lot, including those driven by state witnesses, was searched for explosives by specially trained dogs.
In 1987, a St. Louis jury recommended that Leisure be put to death for planting the car bomb in 1980 that killed underworld leader James A. Michaels Sr., the reputed head of St. Louis' Syrian crime faction. The Leisure family wanted control over Laborers Local 110.
Leisure's attorneys painted him as a follower, someone who took orders from his older cousins, Anthony and Paul Leisure. Anthony Leisure detonated the bomb; Paul Leisure called the shots.
David Leisure, with a 7th-grade education, was far from Hollywood's glitzy idea of an organized-crime figure. He worked at a towing and salvage yard. He had an IQ of 74 and functioned like a 10- or 12-year-old boy, 2 psychologists said. One of his appeals lawyers, John William Simon, said: "David Leisure is to organized crime what a mom-and-pop ice cream store is to corporate America.''
But federal prosecutor Thomas Dittmeier, who brought down the Leisure gang, said David was a hands-on participant who deserved to die.
While Leisure was one of about 10 people tied to the car bombings of the 1980s, only he was sentenced to death. Paul and Anthony Leisure, whom the federal government said were more culpable in the killings, received life in prison after separate trials.
In David Leisure's final statements today, the lawyer he claimed was on drugs was actually a law student who was part of his defense team at trial. That law student, Gerald Bassett, admitted recently in an affidavit that he was heavily involved in heroin and cocain use in the 1970s and 1980s.
On Tuesday, Leisure had a short-lived victory when U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey of Kansas City issued a stay of execution until a hearing is held on Leisure's competency. Her ruling came down about 6 p.m.
"That sounds good," Leisure told a reporter, in an interview from his holding cell. "But they can take that away from me?"
3 hours later, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Laughrey, saying the execution should go forward. Leisure's attorneys immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As that court considered the appeal, Leisure's scheduled 12:01 a.m. was postponed. Shortly after the Supreme Court denied Leisure's appeal at 1:10 a.m., Gov. Mel Carnahan announced that he would not stand in the way of the execution either.
Leisure spent Tuesday visiting with relatives, including his 4-year-old grandson. He took a sedative about 7:30 p.m.
On Sept. 17, 1980, David Leisure crawled beneath Michaels' car and planted a remote-controlled bomb as the car was parked outside St. Raymond's Maronite Church. Michaels was inside eating lunch.
Leisure was present when his cousin, Anthony Leisure, detonated the bomb on I-55. Michaels' car was scattered over a 200-foot radius by the force of the explosion. Michaels' body was dismembered, and part of it was hurled against a passing car.
Micheals' grandson, James A. Michaels III, recently asked Gov. Mel Carnahan to spare Leisure's life.
G. Robert Blakey, author of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute and a law professor at Notre Dame, said the Leisure gang was brought down by techniques like wiretapping.
"Without wiretapping, without investigative grand juries, without a witness protection program, organized crime was above the law in Missouri," Blakey said. "It wasn't until the federal authorities, with those techniques, came into St. Louis and did the investigations that the power of organized crime was broken."
Leisure becomes the 9th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Missouri, and the 41st overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989. Only Texas, Virginia and Florida have executed more condemned prisoners than Missouri.
(sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Rick Halperin)

    Raymond James Jones, 39, 99-09-01, Texas

A convicted burglar who dropped out of school after the 8th grade was executed Wednesday night for beating and hacking to death a Vietnamese immigrant so he could steal the victim's portable stereo from his Port Arthur home.
Raymond James Jones died at 6:17 p.m., 8 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
When asked whether he had a final statement, Jones said, "No, sir."
Wearing black horn-rimmed glasses and a pair of brown slip-on loafers, he gasped 3 times before dying.
Jones, 39, was on parole at the time of the June 17, 1988, attack that left 51-year-old Su Van Dang dead. Jones had been released from prison in September 1985 after serving 2 1/2 years of a 10-year term for holding up a convenience store.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week refused to halt the execution, clearing the way for Jones to receive lethal injection this year.
"Evidence showed he initiated the attack with a knife and a meat cleaver," Paul McWilliams, a former assistant district attorney in Jefferson County who prosecuted Jones, said this week. "He ended up using a 2nd meat cleaver because the 1st one wasn't getting the job done. There was just blood and stuff everywhere."
Investigators determined Dang's killer also beat him with a lug wrench, tried to drown him in a bathtub, then tied him with an electrical cord from a lamp, poured kerosene on him and set him ablaze in a closet.
Police found Dang's soot-covered body the following morning.
According to court documents, Jones and Dang, whom the prosecutor described as "just a nice quiet fellow," were among a group of people playing dominoes the previous evening. When police began questioning Jones after the discovery of Dang's body, he told them, "Yeah, I did it."
Then he took investigators to his sister's house where he had taken the stereo he stole from Dang's home.
"He decided he was going to rob him," McWilliams said. "There was a pretty big boom box that he had decided he wanted and he realized because the victim did know him, he's got to kill him to get away with it."
In his confession, he told police at one point Dang tried to run from the house, but Jones dragged him back inside.
Besides confessions from Jones, police found some of Jones' clothing at the murder scene and his fingerprint in the bathroom.
In appeals the courts rejected, Jones said he killed the victim in self-defense while resisting a homosexual advance, that he was mentally retarded and that the theft of the stereo was an afterthought, meaning he should not have been charged with capital murder, which specifies a slaying be committed as part of another felony.
Jones becomes the 22nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 186th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Mark Gardner, 43, 99-09-08, Arkansas

In Varner, 2 murderers convicted in separate cases went to their deaths just an hour apart in an Arkansas state prison Wednesday in a rare double execution.
Mark Gardner, 43, was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m. EDT, 13 minutes after a lethal combination of chemicals was injected into his arm as he lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber of Cummins Prison, a prison spokeswoman said.
Gardner was convicted of murdering a couple and their adult daughter and raping the older woman in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1985.
Alan Willett, 52, went into the same chamber just under an hour after Gardner. Willet died at 10:15 p.m. EDT, 16 minutes after receiving the injection.
Willett was found guilty of slaying his son and the youngster's uncle in 1993.
After a last meal, Gardner's final words included thanks to his pastoral advisor on death row, Melanie Alberson.
"Blessed are those who are called to the Lord's supper. A never-ending feast awaits me. I love the Melanie Alberson family and I thank them very much," Gardner said.
5 relatives of Gardner's victims watched him die on closed circuit television.
After his last meal, when asked if he had any last words, Willet responded, "None."
No relatives came to the prison to witness Willett's execution.
The executions were scheduled despite an earlier plea from Pope John Paul II to Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to commute the 2 death penalties into life prison sentences. Huckabee decided not to intervene.
Death penalty opponents held vigils at several sites, including a small group outside the prison as well as another outside the governor's mansion in Little Rock.
Executions of more than one inmate on the same day are very rare among U.S. states, limited so far to Arkansas and South Carolina, according to the Washington-based National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
It was the 4th multiple execution in Arkansas since 1990. South Carolina has carried out 1 double execution.
(source: Associated Press)

    Alan Willett, 52, 99-09-08, Arkansas

In Varner, 2 murderers convicted in separate cases went to their deaths just an hour apart in an Arkansas state prison Wednesday in a rare double execution.
Mark Gardner, 43, was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m. EDT, 13 minutes after a lethal combination of chemicals was injected into his arm as he lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber of Cummins Prison, a prison spokeswoman said.
Gardner was convicted of murdering a couple and their adult daughter and raping the older woman in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1985.
Alan Willett, 52, went into the same chamber just under an hour after Gardner. Willet died at 10:15 p.m. EDT, 16 minutes after receiving the injection.
Willett was found guilty of slaying his son and the youngster's uncle in 1993.
After a last meal, Gardner's final words included thanks to his pastoral advisor on death row, Melanie Alberson.
"Blessed are those who are called to the Lord's supper. A never-ending feast awaits me. I love the Melanie Alberson family and I thank them very much," Gardner said.
5 relatives of Gardner's victims watched him die on closed circuit television.
After his last meal, when asked if he had any last words, Willet responded, "None."
No relatives came to the prison to witness Willett's execution.
The executions were scheduled despite an earlier plea from Pope John Paul II to Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to commute the 2 death penalties into life prison sentences. Huckabee decided not to intervene.
Death penalty opponents held vigils at several sites, including a small group outside the prison as well as another outside the governor's mansion in Little Rock.
Executions of more than one inmate on the same day are very rare among U.S. states, limited so far to Arkansas and South Carolina, according to the Washington-based National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
It was the 4th multiple execution in Arkansas since 1990. South Carolina has carried out 1 double execution.
(source: Associated Press)

    Willis Barnes, 51, 99-09-10, Texas

A convicted burglar on parole after serving only 3 years of 4 30-year prison terms was executed Friday evening for beating and strangling an 84-year-old Houston woman during a burglary of her home.
In the seconds before he was put to death, Willis Barnes expressed love to his family and asked for forgiveness from the survivors of his victim.
"I'd like to give love to my mother, sisters and brothers and let them know I am thinking of them right now, and I want to thank God for giving me such a loving family" he said.
"To the victim's family, I hope you find in your heart to forgive me as I have forgiven you."
As the drugs began taking effect, he coughed, sputtered and gasped twice. 10 minutes later, at 6:19 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
Earlier in the week, Barnes had insisted he didn't kill Helen Greb the night of Feb. 11, 1988, but acknowledged taking a television and 2 guns from her home.
"They're putting to death an innocent man," he said in an interview this week. "God knows the truth.
"I'm not mad. I'm a peaceful man. They're just taking my shell. My spirit lives on."
5 members of Mrs. Greb's family stood in the death chamber and watched through a window. They declined to speak with reporters.
Barnes, 51, blamed a $350-a-day cocaine addiction for a string of Houston burglaries that put him in prison in 1984 with 4 30-year terms.
3 years later, however, with Texas prisons bulging and parole officials looking to ease crowding, he was freed when records showed it was his 1st prison stint and that his offense was a property crime. What the records didn't show was that his burglary conviction was a plea bargain that included dropping a sexual assault charge where the victim was an elderly woman.
Less than 4 months after he was released, Mrs. Greb was viciously murdered in a home where she lived since 1937. Barnes was arrested soon afterward.
"It's partly my fault," he said this week. "I had no business walking into that house."
Barnes 1st told police, and repeated in an interview this week, that he never saw the woman. In a subsequent confession, though, he told detectives the woman confronted him with a rifle and a can of pepper spray when she discovered him in the house, that they struggled and she hit her head on a bed as she fell. He said he tried to revive her, panicked and fled.
Barnes this week characterized the statement to police as a "fabricated confession after 18 hours of interrogation."
Evidence, however, showed Mrs. Greb was strangled with hands, that she suffered 20 broken ribs, a broken back, a crushed chest, numerous lacerations and had been sexually assaulted. 3 days later, relatives who had planned to celebrate Valentine's Day with her discovered her body.
Police found a window lock had been broken, the screen removed and a footprint in the sink.
Prosecutors said Barnes was a classic case of a criminal who grew bolder as his success grew, graduating from burglary to rape and finally to murder.
Barnes, a Matagorda County native who worked as an antique restorer among several odd jobs, said his burglaries were the result of feeding an expensive drug habit.
His early release and the Greb murder dramatized the problems in the Texas prison system and helped fuel a public outcry that eventually convinced lawmakers to approve new prison construction and challenge federal oversight of state prisons, Patricia Lykos, the former state district judge who presided over Barnes' capital murder trial, said.
"I wanted to make sure she did not die in vain," Ms. Lykos said Thursday. "I would get up every morning thinking about her.
"Ms. Greb did not die in vain."
Barnes becomes the 23rd condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, and the 187th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    William Prince Davis, 42, 99-09-14, Texas

Nearly 21 years after he arrived on Texas' death row, convicted murderer William Prince Davis was executed Tuesday evening for gunning down the manager of a Houston ice cream company during a robbery.
But his final thoughts were of the Dallas Cowboys.
At the end of a lengthy statement in which he expressed love for his family and friends, he looked at the warden and said, "Oh, I'd like to say in closing, What about those Cowboys!"
It's not the 1st time an inmate on the death row gurney mentioned his fondness for the Dallas football team. Earl Behringer, executed June 11, 1997, thanked the Cowboys for "giving me a lot of enjoyment these past years."
Davis said he was not the same person who committed the crime.
"You see dying before you a different man," he said, and later said of his victims' family, "I'm sorry for the pain and misery I caused them by my actions."
Davis had similar thoughts for his own relatives, saying he hoped to "see you on the other side.
"I'm so thankful I've lived as long as I have," he said, adding he planned to donate his body to science.
In his final moments, Davis took a deep breath, gasped several times and lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m., 7 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
Davis, 42, has spent half his life on death row, where only 10 of the 462 condemned inmates have logged more time.
The 7th-grade dropout from Harris County was convicted of fatally shooting Richard Lang, 60, on the evening of June 2, 1978.
Several drivers were in the company offices turning over the day's receipts to Lang when Davis showed up, according to court records.
As Lang approached Davis, he was shot once in the chest with a .32-caliber pistol. The gunman then ordered the drivers against the wall and fled with $712 and a shotgun taken from the office.
"He walked in, pulled a robbery and shot the guy," Ken Sparks, who prosecuted the case, recalled. "He gave a written confession, so the trial was primarily over the question of life or death and not really an issue of guilty or not."
Davis contended he thought the victim was coming after him.
"I had to shoot the man," he told police. "He was going to take the gun away from me."
3 drivers identified Davis as the gunman. Testimony showed that 5 days after the shooting, he returned to commit a burglary at the same ice cream company.
A jury convicted Davis of capital murder in a 1-day trial.
"I never heard anything over the years" about Davis' execution, Sparks said. "I'd always kind of wondered."
While it takes an average of about 10 years before convicted killers in Texas are executed, Davis' case languished in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for 8 1/2 years before his initial appeal was denied in September 1989.
"As a citizen, I'm outraged it takes this long," Sparks said. "You ought to get a fair trial, a fair appeal. If it's upheld, punishment ought to be carried out."
Lang was murdered 6 months after Davis got out of prison, where he served 2 1/2 years for burglary and aggravated robbery committed when he was 17. In one of the robberies, Davis held a hostage at gunpoint as police tried to apprehend him. In another of the robberies, his weapon was a butcher knife.
In punishment testimony, jurors also learned of an extensive criminal record that began when Davis was 10 and stealing bicycles. By age 12, he was sent to a juvenile detention home for a year and was returned there twice by the time he was 15, when he received 18 months in a state reform school at Gatesville.
When arrested for the Lang murder, Davis told authorities that since age 12, he had spent only about a year and a half outside custody and had committed more than 20 violent felonies.
Davis' attorneys, trying to keep him off death row, argued unsuccessfully that his earlier crimes were the result of youthful immaturity.
Davis becomes the 24th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, and the 188th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Everett Lee Mueller, 51, 99-09-16, Virginia

Everett Lee Mueller was executed by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center last night for the 1990 abduction, rape and capital murder of 10-year-old Charity Powers in Chesterfield County.
Mueller was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m., said Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Mueller appeared calm when he was escorted into the death chamber about 8:50 p.m. Asked whether he had a last statement, Mueller shook his head "no."
An undisclosed number of Powers' family members witnessed the execution, Traylor said. When the 1st of 3 chemicals began flowing into Mueller, he took several deep breaths, then appeared to fall asleep.
Powers, a blond-haired, blue-eyed 5th-grader at Harrowgate Elementary School, disappeared on the morning of Oct. 6, 1990, after leaving the Skateland rink in Chester. She was a sweet girl who enjoyed shopping and chatting on the telephone, said a longtime friend.
On Feb. 8, 1991, her remains were found in a shallow grave near Mueller's home. Mueller, 51, a suspect since soon after the girl's disappearance, was arrested on Feb. 12, 1991, and confessed to the crime.
However, in his clemency petition to Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, he claimed he made up the confession. He said he knew where Charity had been buried only because he came across the body while walking through the woods. Afraid police would blame him for her death, he said, he bought a shovel and buried her and burned her clothing.
But Gilmore was not swayed. In a statement last night, the governor said, "Upon a thorough review of the Petition for Clemency, the numerous court decisions regarding this case, and the circumstances of this matter, I decline to intervene."
In a 7-2 split, the U.S. Supreme Court, with Justice John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting, turned down Mueller's request for a stay of execution shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday.
Powers was last seen about 1:10 a.m. at the Hardee's Restaurant about 600 yards from the rink. A male friend of her mother's fell asleep and failed to pick her up.
Mueller, an unemployed construction worker, was convicted of abducting Powers from the fast-food restaurant. He took her to woods behind his home, raped her and slashed her throat. Her nude, mutilated body was found about 300 yards behind Mueller's home. A clump of hair and some bone was all that was visible. A knife was found sticking in the ground 174 feet from the body.
Several days after her disappearance, police questioned Mueller, who admitted speaking with a young female on the night of Oct. 5 at a fast-food restaurant that might have been near the skating rink.
Mueller was convicted of abduction, rape and capital murder, and the jury recommended the death sentence on Sept. 12, 1991, in Chesterfield County Circuit Court. He was formally sentenced to death for the murder and received 2 life sentences for the other crimes on Dec. 19, 1991.
Shannon Abernathy, who described herself as Powers' best friend, said she was the last person Powers knew who saw her the night she disappeared.
Abernathy, now 21, said that as she was leaving the rink with her father about midnight, they offered Powers a ride home.
"We wanted her to come with us. She was under the assumption that that gentleman was coming to pick her up," she said.
"It's nothing unusual. After a session's over, everybody's standing there waiting for their rides," said Abernathy. Powers declined the ride because someone was coming to pick her up, she said.
"Each day I think about my best friend who I will never have and about how I just went through hell. I have waited 8 years for this, since the day they sentenced him to die on his birthday."
Abernathy said, "She was the best friend I ever had. She was so much like me and I always think, like, now, what it would be like. I'm 21 and she'd be 19."
"She loved to roller skate. She loved to go skating and she loved to shop. I mean, the same thing all little girls love. She loved to go to the mall, to talk on the phone. She and I could talk on the phone 5 or 6 times a day and her mom would always yell at us: 'You don't have anything to talk about.' But we'd always find something -- you know, making fun of the boys at the skating rink, just things little girls do."
"Her last birthday, which we celebrated, was at Pocahontas Park. She loved to swim. Just normal things," Abernathy said.
Traylor said that Mueller did not want details about his requested last meal released to the public. Mueller spent much of his last day visiting with his mother and brother, a prison spokeswoman said.
His was the 11th execution in Virginia this year and 70th in the state since the death penalty was allowed to resume by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976.

    Richard Wayne Smith, 43, 99-09-21, Texas

Convicted killer Richard Wayne Smith was executed Tuesday evening for the 1992 robbery and slaying of a schoolteacher moonlighting as a store clerk.
Smith, 43, dropped all appeals to his conviction for the Baytown murder of Karen Birky, allowing the state to execute him instead of waiting to die from advancing hepatitis C.
When a warden asked whether he had a final statement, Smith said, "No, sir." With a tear stain glistening under his right eye, Smith licked his lips, closed his eyes and exhaled twice before dying.
Smith was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m., 8 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
Defense attorney Guy Womack said Smith hadn't wavered from his decision late last year to die. Smith had used a wheelchair since May because of his failing liver.
"When I tried to dissuade him from dropping his appeals he told me, 'Guy, you don't understand that I'll be much happier dead and not suffering. If I win the appeal, what does that mean?'" Womack said.
Smith declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press.
According to prosecutors, Smith is seen on a Dec. 2, 1992, surveillance videotape robbing the convenience store where Ms. Birky, 38, worked so she could buy supplies for her special education students at Lamar Elementary in nearby Houston.
Ms. Birky complied with Smith's demand for money before he apparently walked her into the parking lot. Witnesses testified Smith fired one shot into Ms. Birky's neck and fled in a stolen Jeep Cherokee.
The victim bled to death aboard an emergency helicopter.
Police later that night found the Jeep in the apartment complex of Smith's ex-wife. Smith woke up after sleeping in a nearby car and was arrested in possession of a .32-caliber pistol tied to the killing and three $5 bills traced to the store.
Smith, a Bowie County, Ark., native and Louisiana parolee in and out of prison his entire life, has said he was impaired that night and remembers nothing. Womack believes Smith had a chance at winning an appeal but was intent on dying Tuesday.
Smith's record of crime and drugs dates to a juvenile marijuana-dealing charge. He also was convicted of aggravated burglary, armed robbery, auto theft and forgery before his 1994 capital murder conviction.
"Rickie was a guy who couldn't stop doing dope, and when he did dope he became a very mean man," said Jim Mount, the prosecutor in Smith's case.
Authorities also said they thwarted what appeared to be an escape plan Smith and his then-girlfriend organized while he was waiting for his murder trial.
Smith is thought to have contracted hepatitis through a shared heroin needle. Shirley Cornelius, the assistant Harris County District Attorney who handles death-row appeals, noted that drug abuse was responsible both for his illness and his criminal nature.
"He's a perfect example of drug abuse, both for the health reasons and the sociological reasons," she said prior to Smith's execution.
Smith becomes the 25th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 189th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Texas has carried out 4 executions this month.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Willie Sullivan, 28, 99-09-24, Delaware

Convicted murderer Willie Sullivan was executed early this morning.
Sullivan was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 12:24 a.m. at Delaware Correctional Center.
Sullivan, 28, was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of his former employer, 78-year-old Maurice Dodd, a Frederica-area nursery owner.
He had been unsuccessful in numerous appeals on state and federal levels.
On Tuesday, the convicted murderer and his attorneys failed to persuade a 6-member state Board of Pardons to commute his sentence to life imprisonment.
Sullivan's attorneys did not ask Gov. Thomas R. Carper to consider the case because of the governor's record of not interfering with the capital punishment process.
Before Sullivan, Delaware had executed 9 since 1992 - 8 by chemical injection and 1, Billy Bailey in January 1996, by hanging.
David J. Lawrie, who was put to death on April 23, was the last to be executed by the state.
According to court records, on Dec. 27, 1991, Sullivan lured Mr. Dodd into a greenhouse and bludgeoned him with a metal ice scoop before stabbing him 10 times. As the victim lay wounded on the ground, Sullivan threw a concrete block on his chest.
Sullivan then took money from Mr. Dodd's pockets, and entered the victim's home, where he found more money. In addition to stealing $300, Sullivan also found the victim's car key and fled in his vehicle.
While state detectives investigated the murder, Sullivan used the car to joy ride with friends and spend money on them, while buying sneakers, a Walkman and some music cassettes for himself.
A few days after the murder, Sullivan abandoned Mr. Dodd's vehicle, which police soon found. The investigation led detectives to Sullivan, who was arrested Jan. 3, 1992, near the Maryland and Delaware border.
Originally, Sullivan confessed to police that he had carried out the murder alone. Despite later trying to change his story and implicate another person in the murder, Sullivan pleaded guilty on Dec. 2, 1992, and his case never went to trial.
A Kent County jury voted 9-3 in favor of putting Sullivan to death. Superior Court Judge Henry duPont Ridgely followed that recommendation and ordered the convicted murderer to be put to death by lethal injection, calling the murder a "vicious, brutal, and premeditated senseless killing."
Through almost 7 years of appeals, Sullivan's attorneys have argued that the condemned murderer had inefficient legal counsel that failed to bring out important aspects of the client's background prior to his guilty plea and during the penalty phase.
Specifically, attorneys Joseph A. Gabay and Anthony J. Figliola argued that Sullivan's problems began before birth as a fetal alcohol syndrome baby, resulting in a low IQ, which the lawyers said qualified him to be considered mentally retarded. The attorneys noted that those mitigating factors were never brought out during Sullivan's penalty hearing.
Nevertheless, those arguments failed to carry enough weight with appeal judges in the state Superior Court or Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.
"If anyone deserves a commutation, then it's Willie," said Mr. Figliola.
Even the emotional testimony of Sullivan's mother, Barbara A. Sullivan - who confirmed that she drank alcohol constantly while pregnant, continued her alcoholism through his childhood and mentally abused him as a child - did not sway the state Board of Pardons into showing mercy.
Mr. Gabay also continued to maintain that Sullivan did not deserve his lethal injection fate. "I'm disappointed professionally, but most of all, I am disappointed for Willie," he said.
Sullivan becomes the 2nd condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Delaware, and the 10th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1992.
(sources: Delaware State News & Rick Halperin)

    Harvey Lee Green, 38, 99-09-24, North Carolina

Harvey Lee Green was executed early Friday for the 1983 beating deaths of 2 Pitt County residents. The execution came after Gov. Jim Hunt refused clemency for him and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the case.
Green, 38, was pronounced dead at 2:16 a.m. after receiving a lethal injection at Central Prison, said Patty McQuillan, a state Correction Department spokeswoman.
Green was the 1st black person executed by North Carolina since the state restored the death penalty in 1977.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined early Friday to stay the execution, denying appeals in the case without comment. A short time later, Gov. Jim Hunt released a statement that he had denied the clemency request. Hunt has never spared the life of a condemned inmate.
"Counsel for the defendant and his advocates in the community have raised questions with regard to issues of fairness in Mr. Green's case," Hunt said in the statement. "However, I believe that the courts have carried out a thorough review of this case, removing any question as to whether Mr. Green received a fair and impartial trial."
Central Prison officials said Green didn't want a last meal when asked. He was being held in a cell block across the hall from the death chamber, where the state executes condemned inmates by lethal injection.
"He's a very faithful person, and he's peaceful about what happens regardless, but he's also one who's not willing to give up," his attorney, Gretchen Engel of Durham, said Thursday.
Green was sent to death row at Central Prison here for beating to death Sheila Bland, a clerk at a dry cleaners in the town of Bethel, and Michael Edmundson, a customer.
Lawyers filed petitions with the U.S. Supreme Court. They also challenged Green's original indictment, but the state Supreme Court stopped a hearing that was scheduled in Wake County Superior Court to hear the motion.
State Supreme Court justices said the challenge to Green's original indictment was without merit and had no legal basis. A stay that had been issued by Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks was lifted.
Green's supporters contend he was a victim of racism during his trial because only one black person was on the jury that recommended the death penalty.
12 people - all white - have been executed in North Carolina since 1977.
Several black leaders sent a letter to Hunt last week asking him to delay Green's execution because state attorneys have not turned over evidence in his case file.
In June, the state's high court rejected Green's request to review prosecutors' files because his case came too early for 1996 state law allowing full review of files after a death sentence.
Green, who pleaded guilty to the murder charges, filed his original discovery motion before the review law took effect and the law didn't apply, the court said. Green's discovery motion was filed May 1, 1996, nearly 2 months before the new discovery law's effective date of June 21, 1996, the court said.
As many as 10 death row inmates of the 199 awaiting execution have sought help under the statute, and many were watching Green's appeal with hopes the court would issue a blanket ruling covering them all.
Engel said the U.S. Supreme Court petitions challenged the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' standard for stopping an execution and the constitutionality of putting him to death after 15 years in prison. It also said the state Supreme Court ruling in June was arbitrary.
Green becomes the 2nd condemned prisoner to be put to death in North Carolina this year, and the 13th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1984.
(sources: associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Alvyn Wayne Crane, 41, 99-10-12, Texas

A former oilfield worker was executed Tuesday night for fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy who had been summoned to quell a family argument 12 years ago.
Alvin Wayne Crane was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m., 9 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
Crane, 41, gave a lengthy statement in which he expressed love for his family and apologized profusely.
"I have caused you a lot of pain and suffering," he said. "I hope you find some peace and comfort in this. If you have any anger, I hope you let it go. I'm sorry for causing everybody so much trouble."
As the drugs began taking effect, several of Crane's family members sobbed as they watched through a window. He smiled, nodded to them and said, "Everything's going to be just fine. I love you all."
The needle inserted in Crane's right arm was a few inches above a tattoo of a skull. Once the drugs began taking effect, he turned purple. He let out a long gasp, then 2 short gasps before slipping into unconsciousness.
Crane, already on probation for assaulting a school bus driver in Oklahoma, was convicted of killing Ochiltree County Chief Deputy Melvin Drum with a single shotgun blast to the face the afternoon of March 28, 1987, in Perryton, in the northernmost reaches of the Texas Panhandle.
"I'm just relieved it's over," Lisa Drum, the deputy's daughter-in-law, said after watching the execution. "I don't think you totally recover. We'll still continue with our grieving."
"We all know family disturbances are one of the most dangerous calls to make and that's what this was," said Sheriff Joe Hataway, who said Drum's murder cost him not only a deputy but a friend. "This was a family feud, there were super-hot feelings and when Deputy Drum drove up, the hatred was vented toward the deputy."
"Melvin was more than a good friend," added County Attorney Bruce Roberson, who prosecuted Crane, the county's only condemned inmate. "He was one of those few people that really this entire community felt they could trust and rely on."
Crane's trial was moved 300 miles from Ochiltree County, which has about 10,000 people, to Denton, a North Dallas suburb.
"This is a small close-knit community," Roberson said. "I'm acquainted with Mr. Crane's family. I really don't take any joy or pleasure in his execution. His family has my sympathy but I think the nature of his crime, plus his persistent criminal behavior, I think the judgment of death imposed by the jury is fair and is just."
When Drum responded to the call of a domestic dispute, it was at least the 3rd time that day authorities were summoned to deal with Crane and his wife, Linda. Earlier in the day, Crane had used a shovel to break out the windows of his wife's car after they argued.
Drum was in an unmarked car and out of uniform, but a red police light was flashing on the dashboard of the car and his badge was dangling from his shirt pocket when he arrived in the early afternoon at a house where Crane's wife worked as a practical nurse caring for a 91-year-old woman.
The deputy was still in the car when Crane approached him and greeted him with a single blast from the shotgun, making Drum the 1st Ochiltree County deputy to die in the line of duty. The father of 2, who also had 2 grandchildren, had been on the force 7 years.
"When Melvin drove up, he didn't even give him a chance," Hataway said.
Crane fled but was captured several hours later after a police chase a few miles to the north near his home in Beaver County in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Oklahoma authorities knew Crane, an 8th-grade dropout, after he was given probation for beating a school bus driver who had struck the Crane family dog while driving his bus.
He also had been arrested for intent to deliver marijuana after police made an undercover drug buy at his home. At the same time, they seized from his home an illegal machine gun and an illegal sawed-off shotgun.
In his appeals, Crane contended his trial lawyers were incompetent because they failed to show he was insane at the time of the shooting. He also unsuccessfully contended a 1981 motorcycle accident left him mentally impaired.
Crane becomes the 26th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, and the 190th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. At least 6 more executions in the state are planned before the end of the year, including another on Thursday evening.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Jerry McFadden, 51, 99-10-14, Texas

Convicted killer Jerry McFadden was executed Thursday for the rape- slaying of an 18-year-old northeast Texas woman, 1 of 3 people killed during a daylong murder spree in 1986.
McFadden, who nicknamed himself "Animal," made no final statement. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m., 8 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
One of needles in McFadden's right arm was placed just above a large tattoo of satanic face.
The mother of victim Suzanne Denise Harrison burst into tears as she entered the death chamber, crying out, "He looked at me." Then she turned away and said, "He took our children."
The victim's brother, Craig Harrison, got as close to the window as he could to see McFadden gasp and sputter twice. Then he remarked, "He's gutless," and called him an obscenity.
Immediately after McFadden stopped breathing, Harrison said, "It's done. I'm ready to go home."
The discovery of the 3 victims from Hawkins, in Wood County about 100 miles east of Dallas, and subsequent arrest of McFadden, on parole after 3 rape convictions, made the former telephone cable installer one of the region's most notorious criminals.
The burly, long-haired, tattoo-covered McFadden enhanced the reputation when he broke out of the Upshur County Jail before his capital murder trial. He took a female jailer hostage and for 3 days evaded one of the most intense manhunts in Texas history. A dragnet involved some 1,200 officers before McFadden was caught.
"He was a very intimidating presence, a very large man, tattoos, a scary presence," said Stephen Tokoly, a special prosecutor appointed by then-Gov. Bill Clements to handle the murder case.
Tokoly, then in private practice, was a former assistant district attorney in Dallas County, where for 11 years he handled some 50 murder cases, 13 of them capital crimes.
"He was one of the most ... serious individuals I ever prosecuted," Tokoly said. "I'm not happy when a person is or is going to be executed. I don't relish that in any way, form or manner. But I feel this case was so serious that I'm glad it's going to reach a closing."
In his last appeals, McFadden, 51, contended prospective jurors improperly were dismissed from consideration for his trial panel because they opposed the death penalty.
McFadden was condemned for raping and beating Ms. Harrison, a high school cheerleader, then strangling her with her own underwear. 2 friends who accompanied her on May 4, 1986, for a Sunday drive around Lake Hawkins in Wood County were shot to death.
Ms. Harrison's body was discovered the next day on a mountaintop roadside park east of Gilmer in neighboring Upshur County. The decomposing bodies of her friends, Gina Turner, 20, and Bryan Boone, 19, were found 5 days later in a ditch off a farm road near Ore City about 15 miles to the northeast. All were from Hawkins, where Ms. Turner had been her high school class valedictorian and Boone captain of the football team.
McFadden, who failed to get beyond the 7th grade, never was charged with the other killings, although evidence related to their deaths was introduced at his trial for Ms. Harrison's murder. He was arrested in Wood County on May 6 after witnesses told police they saw one of the victims riding in McFadden's truck the evening of the murders.
"They were wonderful kids from wonderful families," said Bell County District Attorney Arthur Eads, who worked with Tokoly on the case.
The trial was moved to Bell County, where a jury deliberated only 35 minutes before returning the death sentence.
"While the evidence was to a large extent circumstantial, when it all was presented, it was overwhelming," Tokoly said.
McFadden, whose upper body prominently featured tattoos of winged creatures and ghoulish figures, was on parole after a third rape conviction and was under arrest for armed robbery when he was charged with Ms. Harrison's murder. Among his tattoos was an inscription over his right breast area: "Death before dishonor for the Lonesome Loser."
Defense attorneys contended McFadden's criminal past made him a likely and unfair target.
In 1972, he pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl in Denton. A year later, he pleaded guilty to raping a junior high school teacher in Haskell, where he grew up. In 1978, he went on a daylong rampage through West Texas, taking an 18-year-old secretary hostage and raping her. In each case he was released or paroled before serving his full term, with the last parole in July 1985.
"That was very bothersome to me at the time," Tokoly said. "The parole system was different than it is now. It was much more lenient."
During his jailbreak, he held a female jailer hostage for 28 hours before she managed to escape unhurt from a railroad boxcar.
He did not testify at his trial and declined requests for interviews while on death row.
McFadden becomes the 27th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas this year, and the 191st overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
5 more executions are currently planned in Texas before the end of this year.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Joseph Mitchell Parsons, ?, 99-10-15, Utah

In Utah early Friday, 35-year-old Joseph Mitchell Parsons was executed by injection for fatally stabbing Richard Ernest in 1987.
He spent 4 hours Wednesday afternoon talking to his brother. Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said the inmate remained in good spirits.
"He's doing real well. He's amazing actually," Ford said. "He's real set on doing this and pretty upbeat even. He's not having any problems at all and is determined to go ahead." In July, a judge granted Parsons' motion to fire his attorneys, drop his appeals, and expedite his execution.
"I've been under a sentence of death for 11 years and I honestly don't see anything good coming out of it," Parsons told a magistrate earlier this year. "I've made my peace with myself and my family and it's time to move on."
A walkthrough was held Wednesday to establish a timeframe to transport government and media witnesses and family members of the victim to the execution chamber so executioners would know when to strap Parsons to the gurney where he was eventually executed.
"The only thing we're trying to do is make it so we don't have the condemned man brought in a half-hour before he needs to be and strapped down to the table and lay there longer than he has to be," Ford said. "We want to make it efficient as possible and hopefully painless as possible. We don't want it to have him have a heart attack on the table."
Ford said officials decided it would take a maximum of 14 minutes to transport witnesses from a waiting area, through security checks and to the execution chamber.
Officials also had to devise a way to close a gap in the curtains that screen witnesses from the execution chamber until Parsons was strapped to the gurney and the IVs carrying the lethal dose hooked to his arms.
Parsons spent his final day in a death watch cell watching science fiction movies. He also was to be allowed to shoot baskets in a small gymnasium and walk under the stars.
In August 1987, Parsons, then 23, was hitchhiking outside Barstow, Calif., when Ernest picked him up. That night, as the 2 rested outside Cedar City, Parsons stabbed Ernest at least 18 times, took his wallet and threw the body from the car.
Parsons argued that he stabbed Ernest in self-defense after Ernest made a homosexual advance. Prosecutors said the wounds appeared to have been inflicted while Ernest was sleeping.
Parsons becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be executed this year in Utah, and the 6th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Jan. 17, 1977, when Gary Gilmore was shot to death by a firing squad in the Utah State Penitentiary.
(source: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Jason Matthew Joseph, 27, 99-10-19, Virginia

A man who robbed and then shot a sandwich shop clerk in the back after the clerk had given him the money apologized to the victim's family and was executed Tuesday night, hours after losing a U.S. Supreme Court appeal and a plea for clemency.
Jason Matthew Joseph, 27, was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center. He was pronounced dead at 9:05 p.m.
Asked for a final statement, Joseph said, "No more pain."
In a signed statement released after the execution, Joseph said he hoped the victim's family and friends "can finally find some closure and peace.
I am truly sorry for the pain I've caused your family and mine. I've brought so much pain to so many people. All that I can say to both families is I wish you all NO MORE PAIN."
4 death penalty opponents waited outside the rural prison about 50 miles south of Richmond as the execution hour approached.
The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 on Tuesday morning to reject Joseph's request for a stay of execution. Late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jim Gilmore turned down Joseph's clemency request.
Joseph was convicted of the 1992 robbery and murder of Jeffrey Anderson, 22, who worked at a Subway restaurant in Portsmouth.
According to a Virginia Supreme Court summary of evidence, an accomplice gave Joseph his .45-caliber pistol. The two men then entered the sub shop and Joseph ordered a sandwich.
After the sandwich was made, Joseph took the gun out of his pocket and ordered Anderson to open the cash register and give him the money.
Anderson complied and Joseph ordered him to get down on the floor behind the counter. Joseph reached over the counter and shot Anderson in the back.
Prosecutors told jurors at a sentencing hearing that Joseph had committed other crimes, including the armed robbery and abduction of 2 convenience store clerks.
Joseph's lawyers argued in the clemency petition to Gilmore that their client should not be executed because jurors were influenced "by false and highly inflammatory media reports."
The lawyers said newspapers incorrectly reported that after the verdict Joseph made a profane, disparaging remark to the victim's family. Two jurors later admitted that they read the article.
The clemency petition also said jurors were not told that Joseph went on a crime spree in part because he was on crack cocaine and had a brain injury "triggering immature judgment and violent reaction to stress."
Gilmore, in denying clemency, said Joseph robbed Anderson to get drug money. He noted that the case had been upheld on multiple appeals.
Joseph becomes the 12th condemned inmate to be put to death in Virginia this year, and the 71st overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Arthur Martin Boyd Jr., 53, 99-10-21, North Carolina

Arthur Martin Boyd Jr., was executed Thursday for stabbing his girlfriend 37 times 17 years ago.
His execution marks the 2nd year in a row that North Carolina has executed 3 killers, the state's highest number in a year since the U.S. Supreme Court restored capital punishment 23 years ago.
That record could be broken if a 4th convicted killer, David Junior Brown, is executed as scheduled next month.
Boyd, 53, was pronounced dead at 2:18 a.m.
Boyd, on death row since 1983, was convicted for the Aug.7, 1982, stabbing death of Wanda Hartman outside a shopping mall in Mount Airy in Surry County. Hartman was stabbed 37 times in front of her young daughter and mother.
Boyd and Hartman had lived together, but several months before the killing, Hartman and her daughter moved into her parents' home.
On the day of the killing, Boyd, who had been trying to reconcile with Hartman, purchased a lock-blade knife - the murder weapon.
Boyd confronted Hartman, accompanied by her mother and daughter, outside the shopping mall. He followed her to a nearby bank, where a church group was conducting a car wash. The victim's father was the church's pastor.
Boyd and Hartman talked quietly at the curb in front of the bank until the victim's mother said they had to leave.
When Boyd asked to continue the conversation, Hartman told him they had nothing further to discuss and that if he was going to kill her, "he should hurry up and get it over with."
Reaching into his pocket, Boyd pulled out the knife and began stabbing Hartman. The victim's mother pulled Boyd away but he pushed the 76-year-old woman aside, and then, holding Hartman by the hair, continued stabbing her.
Hartman was stabbed 37 times, suffering wounds to her neck, chest, left arm, left thigh, back and each hand.
About a week before the murder, Boyd had threatened Hartman: "I'll see you like a German submarine, when you are not expecting it."
Boyd had a long criminal record. From age 14, he had either been in prison, on parole or on probation.
His crimes included larceny, assault with intent to commit rape of a 14-year-old girl, driving under the influence, assault on an officer and resisting arrest.
Boyd becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in North Carolina and the 14th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1984.
(sources: Charlotte Observer & Rick Halperin)

    Ignacio Alberto Ortiz, 57, 99-10-27, Arizona

Ignacio Alberto Ortiz was executed by injection Wednesday for the murder of his ex-lover, more than 2 decades after he stabbed her to death and tried to kill her 3 young children.
When asked by Department of Corrections Director Terry Stewart if he had any last words, Ortiz said, "Jesus Christ is the Lord. Heavenly Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Thank you."
Ortiz, a Catholic, then repeated the prayer in Spanish. His eyes were closed.
His chest heaved upward twice and his head tilted slightly toward the witness room as the lethal flow began at 3:04 p.m. He was declared dead at 3:05 p.m.
The 29 witnesses included Ortiz's elderly mother from Tucson, Isabel M. Rodriguez, and his lead attorney, Sean Bruner.
Also present were McCormack's husband, Charles McCormack Jr., and children Patricia McCormack Ramirez and Charles McCormack III. A 2nd daughter did not attend.
Ortiz, 57, was convicted of murdering Manuelita McCormack at her Tucson home on Dec. 21, 1978. He tried to kill her 3 children that night to eliminate witnesses and later plotted to have them killed by a jail cellmate.
According to trial testimony, Ortiz had an affair with Mrs. McCormack while she was estranged from her husband. Ortiz killed Mrs. McCormack after she reconciled with her husband and told him she did not want to see him anymore.
Ortiz fatally stabbed Mrs. McCormack at the family home and then stabbed her 2 daughters, ages 8 and 9. The children fled the house after Ortiz sloshed gasoline on and around their mother's body and set it on fire.
Before the execution, son Charles and daughter Patricia, both of Tucson, had said that Ortiz's execution would end years of fear.
"I have grown up knowing I had to be careful what I did and who I talked to," said 23-year-old Charles, who was 3 when his mother died.
The execution should have taken place years ago, said Ramirez, 28. "We would have grown up without that fear."
Ortiz becomes the 7th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Arizona, and the 19th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1992.
(sources: Arizona Republic & Rick Halperin)

    Domingo Cantu, 31, 99-10-28, Texas

A convicted burglar with a violent history was executed Thursday night for raping and fatally beating a 94-year-old woman who was watering the flowers outside her Dallas home more than 11 years ago.
Domingo Cantu was pronounced dead at 6:23, 9 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
In a brief final statement, the 31-year-old Cantu spoke in German and Spanish before switching to English.
"I love you. I'll be waiting for you on the other side," he said to his wife, who witnessed the execution. "Be strong. No matter what happens, God is looking over you."
Then he said the words "Jesus Mercy" 3 times before losing consciousness.
His sister, watching through a window a few feet away, waved an eagle feather, making the sign of a cross and then moving it in a circular motion.
Cantu was condemned for murdering Suda Eller Jones the morning of June 25, 1988, outside the home where she'd lived since 1928 in Dallas' Oak Cliff section.
The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday rejected Cantu's final appeal and a request to delay the execution.
Cantu insisted he was innocent. On an Internet site dedicated to Cantu, the half-Hispanic, half-Apache former painter called himself "an American Indian warrior held hostage in my homeland."
"I cannot and will not lay down systematically for this `barbarity' and `madness' called justice," he wrote in a letter posted on the Italy-based Web site.
Appeals attorneys successfully petitioned this month to allow DNA testing of Cantu's bloody clothing. The technology was unavailable in 1988.
Cantu said the tests would exonerate him of the crime, but results showed the blood on his shirt and underwear matched the victim's blood.
Evidence showed Cantu grabbed Ms. Jones in the front yard of her home and dragged her across her patio into the back yard, then hauled the 97-pound woman over a 4-foot-high chain-link fence, beat, raped and sodomized her.
Her screams alerted a neighbor who called police, but by the time officers arrived Ms. Jones was dead. Among the battered woman's injuries were fractures to eight ribs on each side of her body. Medical examiners determined she died after her head had been slammed into the concrete repeatedly.
"The lady had lived in the house for 60 years and was out watering her flowers," Andy Beach, a former Dallas County assistant district attorney who helped prosecute Cantu, said this week. "You just couldn't find a worse crime."
"He was just a predator looking for a weaker victim," added Marshall Gandy, the lead prosecutor in the case.
Police caught Cantu near the house within minutes. He was covered with blood and feces and was trying to run down an alley.
At his trial, evidence showed he had been tied to thefts in school beginning at age 12 and was arrested early in his teens for taking money from vending machines. By his mid-teens, he had graduated to burglary, fought with police trying to arrest him and went to prison for 2 years after failing to live up to terms of probation.
A witness told how hours before Ms. Jones' murder, he assaulted her at a bus stop, tried to pull down her pants, then took off with her purse.
The woman had little difficulty identifying him, pointing out a scorpion tattoo on the right side of his neck.
At the punishment phase of his trial, Cantu testified he had injected himself with cocaine more than 10 times the night before the murder. He also confessed on the stand to the assault at the bus stop.
During jury selection at the murder trial, he bolted from the defense table and tried to flee out a back door of the courtroom. The door was locked.
"I can still remember hearing the sound of him hitting that door and bouncing back about 15 feet," Beach said. "It's not a laughing deal whenever anybody is executed. But I have no problems with him. He's getting what he deserved."
6 years ago, prison officials said he stabbed and wounded a fellow death row inmate in the throat with a 13-inch stiletto fashioned out of a typewriter key.
Cantu becomes the 28th condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 192nd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982. Cantu becomes the 105th condemned prisoner to be put to death during the governorship of George Bush Jr.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Thomas Lee Royal Jr., 99-11-09, Virginia

Thomas Lee Royal Jr. raised his head from the padded gurney, scanned the room and told witnesses he was ready to die.
"I just want to say, how you gonna kill a man when a man is willing to die? Remember Wallace wasn't ready to die."
With that obscure message, Royal told the execution team at Greensville Correctional Center, "Let's roll," and was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night for the Feb. 21, 1994, shooting death of Hampton Police Officer Kenny Wallace.
The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Jim Gilmore denied a last-minute appeal by Royal's attorney, Barbara L. Hartung of Richmond.
Royal was led into the death chamber at 8:55 p.m. and officers strapped his wrists, thighs, chest and ankles to the gurney. He was wearing baggy denim pants and a light-blue shirt. He shook his dreadlocks into place before resting his head on the gurney.
Moments later, the vinyl blue curtain closed, shielding witnesses from the medical team that inserted 2 intravenous needles into each of Royal's arms. It was the plastic tube in the right arm that delivered three different chemicals into his body.
A few bubbles could be seen moving the liquid toward the body. The tube wiggled continuously.
At 9:06 p.m., Warden Dave Garraghty announced that Royal was dead.
Volunteer prison chaplain Bob West, and his wife, Sarah, were among the last people to visit Royal on Tuesday. During the visit, West baptized Royal.
"We had been with him since 3 o'clock," said West, who joined witnesses in a room facing the gurney. "We had dinner with him. He's prepared to die. He knows he's been forgiven."
Royal visited with a multitude of relatives throughout the day, including his mother and stepfather, father and stepmother, wife and 3 children, 3 sisters and his maternal grandparents. He was allowed to have contact visits with them between 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. The family then had to leave the prison grounds.
Royal's brother, whose arrest led to the retaliatory shooting of Wallace, did not visit. He most likely could not get into the prison because of his felony record, said Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor.
Traylor said Royal was served his last meal of chicken, french fries, pineapple upside-down cake and ice tea at 5:11 p.m.
About 100 protesters, most of them operating under the umbrella group Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, gathered in a field just a few yards from the entrance to the prison. Under the glow of prison lights, they formed a circle around a small public-address system.
Some protesters held candles in the clear and cool autumn night. Speakers stepped to the microphone to read condemnations of the death penalty issued over the years by various churches and religions. Bud Welch, whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, then addressed the crowd, telling them executions have "no social redeeming value."
Tim Stanton, one of the protest organizers, said the group was not defending Royal.
"I'd like to see Thomas Royal spend the rest of his life in prison," said Stanton. "When we as a society kill, we send out a message to the rest of society that we are condoning violence."
The Supreme Court refused to intervene in the execution just after 6 p.m. Gilmore cleared the way for the execution when he issued a short statement around 7 p.m. saying he also would not intervene.
Thomas and Evangeline Wallace, the slain officer's parents, chose not to attend the execution.
In a telephone interview from the Wallace's Hampton home, Thomas Wallace said the family is "satisfied with the outcome."
"I think justice was met, and I think Thomas Royal realizes that his actions constituted what he received," Thomas Wallace said. "My whole family is satisfied that he will not be back in society."
Witnessing the execution was Hampton Police Officer Curtis Cooper, who was a friend of Wallace's. It was Cooper that Royal had intended to kill. When Royal found Wallace in the cruiser, he opened fire anyway.
As a van carried execution witnesses from the prison, two corrections officers waited outside a blue ambulance that would carry Royal's body to Richmond, where an autopsy will be performed by the state medical examiner.
On Royal's death certificate, a single word will list the cause: homicide.
(source: Daily Press)

At 8:54 p.m. a door opens and the condemned man, flanked by corrections officers, takes four steps to a gurney.
Without ceremony, practiced members of the execution team place him flat on his back on a pad covered by a crisp white sheet. They quickly and deftly fasten a half-dozen heavy brown leather straps that render the prisoner immobile.
The inmate is curious. He lifts his head and watches the officers strap him down, looks about the small, gray room at corrections officials, and peers into the witness booth. He had never before seen the Greensville Correctional Center's death chamber.
Finally, Thomas Lee Royal Jr. drops his head and stares blankly at the ceiling. It's 8:56 p.m. and he has 10 minutes to live, not a moment longer. Virginia has executions down pat.
A blue plastic curtain is drawn for 4 minutes in front of the witness booth to protect the identity of the executioners -- 2 Department of Corrections medical technicians -- as they attach IVs and a heart monitor to Royal. They swab the IV needle insertion points with alcohol to prevent infection. Right up to the moment it kills him, the state is responsible for Royal's good health.
Afterward, the anonymous executioners step behind another blue curtain with two ports through which the IV and heart monitor lines run.
When the curtain in front of the witness booth reopens, Royal lies on the gurney with his bound arms outstretched on the perpendicular wings of the gurney, an arrangement that gives the impression of a horizontal crucifixion. The tubes that will deliver the lethal fluids into Royal are taped onto both arms.
A minister says a few words over Royal; the condemned man continues to stare at the ceiling.
Corrections Director Ron Angelone clasps the red phone that links the death chamber to the office of Gov. Jim Gilmore in case the governor decides at the last minute to grant clemency. He doesn't.
On the other side of the chamber, a prison official holds open a phone line to the warden's office in case there's a last-second reprieve from the courts, which usually communicate with the prison via fax. No reprieve comes.
The wall clock in the death chamber reads 9 p.m. -- the appointed hour for Royal to die for murdering a Hampton police officer. He is asked if he has any last words.
"Let's roll," he says.
The warden steps behind the curtain and tells the technicians to administer the chemicals.
At 9:01 p.m. the tube attached to Royal's right arm jiggles as the 1st chemical -- a drug that puts him to sleep in about 20 seconds -- flows through it. A 2nd chemical will follow, stopping Royal's breathing. A 3rd will stop his heart.
Royal takes several deep breaths, then is still. His eyes close.
It takes three or four minutes to manually empty syringes containing the chemicals into the IV tube. The line to Royal's left arm serves as a backup in case something goes wrong with the primary line. That has been necessary 3 or 4 times, but not for Royal.
About 35 people in the death chamber solemnly watch the process by which government exercises its ultimate authority -- the power to take a life.
After 6 minutes of funereal silence, prison warden David Garraghty steps from behind the curtain hiding the executioners and the doctor whose job is to pronounce Royal dead. Garraghty says Royal died at 9:06 p.m. The doctor knows Royal is dead because the heart monitor had been showing a flat line for several seconds. If it hadn't the technicians would have readministered the second and third drugs in the series until Royal was dead.
The blue curtain in front of the witness booth is pulled immediately after Royal is pronounced dead. Official and press witnesses quietly file out of the chamber, built on the back of the prison's maximum security building. They get into white prison vans and are driven away.
Royal's body is taken out a side door of the death chamber, put into a dark blue prison ambulance and driven to the state medical examiner's office in Richmond for an autopsy required by state law. There, the cause of death is listed as "lethal injection."
(source: Associated Press)

    Leroy Joseph "Ricky" Drayton, 44, 99-11-12, South Carolina

A man who was twice convicted and sentenced to death for kidnapping and murdering a 19-year-old gas station clerk was executed by injection Friday.
Leroy Joseph "Ricky" Drayton, 44, fatally shot Rhonda Darlene Smith near an abandoned coal trestle on Feb. 11, 1984.
Several witnesses said they saw Drayton and Smith drive up to the Kaye gas station where she worked. They said Smith opened the store and helped customers, and neither she nor Drayton appeared nervous.
But prosecutors said Drayton later robbed the store of more than $300 and kidnapped Smith.
Drayton told police Smith stole the money and gave it to him and that she went with him to the coal trestle voluntarily. He said he accidentally shot her when he tripped and his .357-caliber pistol fired, hitting Smith in the forehead.
Drayton's 1st conviction was reversed after the state Supreme Court ruled that jurors should have been told to decide whether Drayton's statement to police was voluntary. He was convicted again at retrial.
Drayton becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death in South Carolina this year, and the 23rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Jan. 10m, 1986. South Carolina carried out 7 executions last year.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Desmond Jennings, 28, 99-11-16, Texas

A defiant condemned inmate fought a 5-member team of guards before being executed Tuesday night for killing 2 people during a Fort Worth crack house robbery.
Desmond Jennings, 28, had warned prison officials he would not cooperate and, "true to his word, he did resist all the way," prison spokesman Larry Fitzgerald said.
Guards clad in helmets, masks, chest gear and shin guards swooped into his cell after 6 p.m. when he refused to go on his own volition.
"I won't do this," Jennings told officers.
52 seconds later he was removed from the cell - his fists clenched and his body rigid - but he threw no punches. As he was carried to the chamber, he told guards, "Thank you for not using gas."
A few hours earlier, before being taken to the death house, a similar team used pepper spray to subdue Jennings and pull him from his prison cell at the Ellis Unit, about 15 miles northeast of Huntsville, for a van ride to the Huntsville Unit in downtown Huntsville, where executions take place.
As witnesses filed into the chamber, Jennings was passive and made no eye contact. When the warden asked whether he had final statement, Jennings said, "No, I do not."
Jennings took 2 short breaths, stopped moving and was declared dead at 6:22 p.m., 7 minutes after the flow of lethal drugs began.
It's the 1st time in 193 executions carried out in the state since capital punishment resumed in 1982 that authorities have needed to use force to move a condemned inmate to the death house.
Jennings could be responsible for as many as 20 murders at Fort Worth crack houses although authorities believed they positively linked him to 5 slayings, including the 2 in 1993 that sent him to death row.
"It's very hard (to seek the death penalty), but then a Desmond Jennings comes along and even though you may cry at night because you're involved, ... it just makes sense that you've got to have this necessary evil," Joetta Keene, a former Tarrant County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Jennings, said this week.
"To me, he is the definition of the death penalty. He believes so little in human life that a pair of sneakers is worth more to him than the life of a human being. You've got to pay more than just sit in a cell. God can redeem him but with man you have to suffer the consequences. You can't go blow a bunch of people away and think it's fun."
The other murders remain on the books as unsolved. All occurred in drug houses and nearly all the victims were prostitutes or junkies.
Witnesses said Jennings tossed 13 cents and capsules out the window of a car as he drove from where Sylvester Walton, 44, and Wonda Matthews, 27, had been fatally shot in the head Dec. 27, 1993.
"It's over and done with," Angela Hamza, Ms. Matthews' sister, said after watching Jennings die. "I wouldn't use the word `glad.' I do feel justice has been served."
Evidence at Jennings' trial showed he was the triggerman in a small gang of men who robbed Fort Worth crack houses.
"They would literally bust down the doors, rob the house and kill everyone there," Ms. Keene said. "We proved the double homicide for grounds for capital (murder). What we proved is 3 more bodies in the punishment (phase) with no question of the feeling there were more out there.
"We knew there were up to 20 but we figured 5 would be enough and we proved 5 bodies."
A 2nd man was convicted of murder and is serving a 30-year prison term.
A friend testified the killings did not faze Jennings, who was most upset that blood had splattered on his Chuck Taylor All-Star basketball shoes and his pants.
"I messed my Chucks up," Jennings told him. "I got blood all over my Chucks and my khakis."
He was arrested about a week later when police pulled over his car for having only one working headlight. Police found a loaded .32-caliber pistol in the car and ballistics tests on the weapon tied it to the killings.
Ms. Keene recalled this week how Jennings sat at the defense table in court and whistled "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
"It's one of those things where you can have a hundred trials but don't forget that," she said. "I'm evaluating the death penalty in my heart and my mind and he's over there whistling."
On Wednesday night, convicted murderer John Lamb, 42, a California man with arrests from coast to coast, was set to die for the 1982 robbery-shooting of a Virginia businessman in a Greenville motel room. Lamb was released from an Arkansas prison the day before the fatal shooting and was arrested 5 days later in Florida driving the victim's car.
Thursday night, Jose Gutierrez, 39, was set for lethal injection for the fatal shooting and robbery of a jewelry store clerk in College Station 10 years ago. Gutierrez's brother, Jessie, was executed in 1994 for the same crime.
Jennings becomes the 29th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 193rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    John Michael Lamb, 99-11-17, Texas

Trembling and obviously nervous, a California drifter was executed Wednesday night for a fatal shooting and robbery committed only hours after he was freed from an Arkansas jail 17 years ago.
"I'm sorry," John Michael Lamb said, looking toward members of his victim's family watching through a window. "I wish I could bring him back. I can't. Good-bye."
His mouth quivering and trying to hold back tears, Lamb quickly told the warden, "Do it."
He took a deep gasp, coughed slightly, then gasped again before losing consciousness. Lamb was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m., 6 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms. Lamb, 42, of San Jose, Calif., was the 30th convicted murderer to receive lethal injection in Texas this year and the second in as many days. Another execution is set for Thursday night.
"I don't like needles," Lamb said in a death row interview in which he admitted being scared.
"It's too late now," he added. "I can sit here and cry until the moon turns blue but it's not going to do any good."
Lamb, with arrests from coast to coast, was condemned for fatally shooting ," , 30, of Castlewood, Va., at a Ramada Inn in Greenville, about 50 miles east of Dallas. Chafin's body was found the morning of Nov. 6, 1982, by a cleaning woman.
5 days later, Lamb was arrested near Greenville, Fla., after being chased by a Florida state trooper following a robbery at a convenience store where he shot and wounded a clerk and stole 2 cases of beer. When apprehended, he was driving Chafin's car and was carrying the Virginia man's wallet, credit cards and driver's license.
In his confession, Lamb said he had been freed from a Searcy, Ark., jail after serving 100 days for receiving stolen property and was walking and hitchhiking to Dallas. He stole a couple of guns from a trailer home in Arkansas after leaving jail and was picked up by Chafin, who took him to the motel where the fatal shooting occurred.
"I don't remember taking the gun out," Lamb said in an interview. "He died. I took his car. He didn't need it any more."
Lamb, who dropped out of school in the 11th grade, had drug, burglary and forgery arrests in California and the armed robbery and attempted murder arrests in Florida, where he faced 3 life prison terms.
Court records show he thanked Florida authorities for capturing him "before I killed somebody else."
"I think he's exactly the type of case for which the death penalty is designed," Hunt County District Attorney Duncan Thomas, who prosecuted Lamb in Texas, said this week. "He's someone who kills someone, steals all their belongings and then tries to kill someone else."
Lamb's final appeals were rejected this week by the U.S. Supreme Court, which also refused to halt the execution. It was the last step in a circuitous series of appeals Lamb has had in the state and federal courts since his conviction in March 1983.
"I certainly think this is long overdue," Thomas said.
Lamb becomes the 30th condemned prisoner to be put to death this year in Texas and the 194th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press and Rick Halperin)

    Jose Gutierrez, 39, 99-11-18, Texas

A construction worker condemned for killing a jewelry store clerk in 1989 was put to death Thursday night, 5 years after his brother was executed for his role in the same crime.
Jose Gutierrez, 39, was the 3rd condemned murderer Texas had executed in as many days. He was pronounced dead of a lethal injection at 6:22 p.m. CST.
Gutierrez smiled and appeared happy in his final moments. He sang 2 verses of the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy" and looked at his mother, who watched through a window from outside the death chamber.
His parents, a brother and a sister sang along with him. Then, Gutierrez said the Lord's Prayer. When he finished, he said: "Now, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit. Amen" His mother joined with him, saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!"
Then the drugs were administered. Seconds later, he took 3 gasps and fell into unconsciousness. He was pronounced dead 6 minutes later.
There were no witnesses associated with the men's victim, Dorothy McNew.
Gutierrez and his brother, Jessie, were convicted of fatally shooting the clerk the morning of Sept. 5, 1989, at the Texas Coin Exchange in College Station, near the Texas A&M University campus.
The men were arrested a week later in Houston, about 100 miles away. Jose Gutierrez was at his sister's house; Jessie was at a motel with his girlfriend. Of the $500,000 in merchandise stolen, some $375,000 worth was recovered.
The brothers entered the store shortly before 10 a.m. After browsing about 15 minutes, Jose Gutierrez pulled out a .22 semiautomatic handgun and opened fire, striking Ms. McNew in the back of the head.
"It was a senseless killing," said Bill Turner, the Brazos County district attorney who prosecuted the brothers. "It was just that cold-blooded.
"They were in the front of the counter and this woman is a way behind and walking to her office. She was shot in the back of the head. It was just cold-blooded.
"I always get a feeling it's such a waste that human beings engage in such conduct."
Jessie Gutierrez, who was 29 when he was executed in 1994, was offered a life sentence but turned it down. A jury then found him guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to die.
"They wanted to be tried together," Turner said.
Testimony showed the wounded woman remained conscious, moaning and asking for help as the brothers cleaned out jewel cases and ripped telephone wires from the wall. She died the following day.
A Crimestoppers telephone tip to College Station police led authorities to the arrest. When arrested, Jose was wearing some of the stolen jewelry. Police also found the weapon that killed Ms. McNew.
Store employees and a customer identified Jose as the shooter.
In June, a federal court in Houston denied the latest of a number of appeals that Gutierrez had filed and lost. He took no additional legal steps to halt the punishment.
Brothers have been executed before in Texas.
Curtis and Danny Harris were executed in July 1993 for beating and robbing a motorist whose car had broken down on a Brazos County road in 1978. Curtis Harris was 17 when he arrived on death row and was the youngest person in Texas to be condemned.
4 more death row inmates face execution in Texas in December, all within an 8-day period beginning Dec. 8. At least 8 others have execution dates for 2000, 7 in January.
Gutierrez becomes the 31st condemned inmate to be executed this year in Texas and the 195th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    David Junior Brown, 51, 99-11-19, North Carolina

A prison guard wheeled a gurney carrying David Junior Brown into the death chamber at Central Prison Friday at 1:51 a.m.
As the gurney was lifted over a metal strip at the door into the chamber, Brown glanced into the small, darkened witness room and then closed his eyes as the gurney was placed in front of the old wooden chair used for executions by gas.
Among those watching were 4 family members of the woman and daughter he was convicted of killing 19 years ago, the former prosecutor who sought his death, Brown's daughter and her husband, Brown's 2 lawyers and 5 reporters.
The clock on the wall in the witness room ticked as the witnesses sat nearly motionless. The only light came from a single bulb on the back wall of the death chamber, a small room with 6 sides.
A beige curtain was pulled behind the gurney. 3 intravenous saline bags hung to Brown's right. 3 lines snaked through a slit in the curtain.
3 executioners stepped in behind the curtain awaiting Warden R.C. Lees order to proceed. A line went into each of Brown's arms. The 3rd went into an empty IV bag. None of the executioners would know which one was administering the lethal drug.
Brown was covered by a powder-blue hospital sheet. His head was propped on a pillow with a blue pillowcase. He wore his glasses and a black skullcap. He looked calm.
He began to say what seemed to be a prayer, repeating something over and over. The sound could not penetrate the double-paned window separating him from the 2 rows of witnesses. His mouth opened a little wider, his neck muscles straining a little more each time he spoke.
For a second, the faint hum of his chanting could be heard. He stopped. Inside the witness room, the clock ticked.
Brown opened his eyes for a few seconds, looking up at the ceiling. He closed them again and continued to pray and chant. He never opened his eyes again.
Brown was defiant to the end, maintaining that he was innocent of the stabbing deaths of 26-year-old Shelly Diane Chalflinch and her 9-year-old daughter, Christine, in Pinehurst in 1980. In the moments before he was rolled into the death chamber, Brown made a final statement to Lee.
"O Allah, OAllah, condemn and lay curse upon the killers of Dawud Abdullah Muhammed. Cursed be the people who did injustice to me and cursed be the people who heard this and were pleased with it."
Brown, who was 51, changed his name in prison after his conversion to Islam.
Lee entered the door at the back of the small witness room at 2 a.m., the scheduled time of execution. He announced in a steady, calm voice that he was going to check with state Correction Secretary Theodis Black, who was in Lee's office one floor below. A special phone on Lee's desk was connected to a small control room behind the death chamber.
If there were no further instructions, Lee said, he would order the execution to proceed.
At 2:01 a.m., Brown was injected with thiopental sodium to put him to sleep, followed by Pavulon, a strong muscle relaxer that causes the breathing to stop.
For several minutes, Brown's head swayed. He appeared to be singing, defying the effect of the 1st drug. He stopped. He was still as he fell asleep.
It was 2:07.
Browns breathing became labored. His body convulsed. His head rose off the pillow, rocking forward several times as if he were choking. Then he was still.
Brown's daughter, 24-year-old Toswayia Mosley of Fayetteville, began to cry. Sitting in the second row, she leaned to the right, peering between Larry Frye and Wes Frye on the front row, relatives of the Chalflinches.
At 2:09, Brown gasped, his muscles constricting. His body relaxed, and a tear rolled down his left cheek. His mouth gaped.
His breathing slowed. The clock ticked.
Mosley wept quietly. She leaned forward, putting her head into her hands. Her husband, Herbert, put his arm around her.
Joel Morris, a former State Bureau of Investigation agent, was seated on the other side of Mosley. He glanced at the clock. It was 2:12.
The muscles in Brown's neck began to spasm, the motion rippling down into his chest and stomach. It was 2:13. Brown lay still, his mouth open.
Mosley asked one of the 2 guards in the witness room to take her and her husband out. The room was quiet again except for the ticking of the clock.
Larry Frye of Norfolk, Va., the brother of Shelly Chalflinch, sat on the front row, flanked by former District Attorney Carroll Lowder and Frye's father, Wes Frye of Aberdeen. The Fryes and 2 other family members, Johnny Frye and Jimmy Chalflinch, stared straight ahead the entire time.
Around 2:16, Brown's heart stopped. His face turned blue.
A heart monitor, hidden from view in another room, had to show a flat line for 5 minutes before he could be pronounced dead.
The witnesses sat quietly, watching Brown. The clock ticked.
Bruce Cunningham of Southern Pines sat with his hands folded in his lap. Next to him, Henderson Hill of Charlotte, chewing on a toothpick, looked down. They were Brown's lawyers.
Jimmy Chalflinch of Carthage, former brother-in-law of Shelly Chalflinch, checked the clock at 2:18. 3 minutes later, Morris looked up at the clock.
The door off the left side of the chamber where Brown was brought in opened at 2:23. Lee stepped in and pulled a curtain over the window. The lights came on in the witness room.
Hill and Cunningham got up and left the room abruptly. The others stayed seated. No one spoke. Cunningham looked tired, his eyes bloodshot, as he got into the elevator outside the room. Hill looked disgusted.
In the witness room, Larry Frye put a hand on his father's shoulders and then shook hands with Johnny Frye and Jimmy Chalflinch.
At 2:25, Lee came back into the witness room and announced that the orders of the state for the execution of David Junior Brown had been carried out. Brown had been pronounced dead at 2:21 a.m. The witnesses left the room in silence.

    Cornel Cooks, 43, 99-12-02, Oklahoma

A man convicted of raping and suffocating his 87-year-old neighbor during a burglary was executed by injection early Thursday.
Cornel Cooks, 43, was pronounced dead at 12:18 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Cooks, 26 at the time, and Rodney Madson Masters, then 19, were conjointly charged with 1st-degree murder, rape and robbery of Jennie Elva Ridling, an 87-year-old disabled woman.
He was convicted in March 1983 and sentenced to die. Masters was also convicted, but jurors recommended a punishment of life in prison.
Ridling lived in a trailer next to her daughter Eleta Douglas.
According to reports at the time, Ridling's home was ransacked and several items were stolen. The medical examiner determined Ridling suffered for nearly 2 hours before she died. She was raped and beaten in the head.
She suffocated when the perpetrators wrapped a piece of gauze-like cloth around her head.
A neighbor discovered her body shortly after 8 p.m. and called police. Police recovered items belonging to Ridling, including her checkbook. Investigators also recovered a bloody sock in a trash bin in front of Cooks' house.
Several witnesses testified during the 4-day trial that they saw Cooks and Masters returning to Cooks' house holding a pillowcase about 9 p.m. on the night of the murder. Cooks had been previously convicted of 1st-degree burglary and robbery by force.
Cooks used to mow Mrs. Ridling's lawn, said her granddaughter, Patricia Smith of Burleson, Texas.
"It has been a long time coming for justice," Mrs. Smith said. "He already had more than enough clemency by having 16 years of added life more than my grandmother."
The state Pardon and Parole Board denied the inmate's request for clemency last month despite arguments that Cooks grew up in a dysfunctional family and was addicted to drugs.
Cooks becomes the 5th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma and the 18th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Sept. 10, 1990, when convicted murdered Charles Troy Coleman of Muskogee County was executed.
Shelby Doggett, executed by the electric chair in 1962, was the last Comanche County man executed for murder. Cooks becomes the 1st Comanche County man to be executed by lethal injection since the death penalty was reinstated.
(sources: Associated Press, the Lawton Constitution & Rick Halperin)

    David Rocheville, 31 , 99-12-03, South Carolina

A Spartanburg County man convicted in the 1991 execution-style shooting of a movie theater manager was executed by injection Friday.
David Rocheville was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., Corrections Department spokesman John Barkley said.
Rocheville made no final statement and laid still with his eyes closed.
Other than several hard swallows, he showed no emotion and made no sounds. On Thursday, Rocheville took a polygraph test to try to show he shot Todd Green, 24, under duress from his accomplice Richard Longworth. The results of that test were inconclusive.
After Rocheville was pronounced dead, Mary Green and Alex Hopps Sr., parents of Rocheville and Longworth's two victims, shared a brief hug.
"I just feel better," Mrs. Green said. However, she said she is still searching for why her only child was killed. "I'll always wonder why. That's the one thing that bothered me. I can't see why anybody had any reason to murder Todd."
Rocheville said in an interview earlier this week he closed his eyes and fired the gun and does not know if he hit Green. Longworth then fired 3 more shots at Green, Rocheville said. Longworth has said Rocheville fired all 4 shots.
"Basically, my crime was I was no hero that night," he said. "I was a coward."
At his trial, police investigators testified that Rocheville admitted to the shooting.
Rocheville took a polygraph test Thursday to bolster his clemency appeal to Gov. Jim Hodges. But the test was inconclusive, said Faye Weldon, a paralegal for Rocheville's appeals lawyer and the governor refused to stop the execution.
"The governor found no compelling reason that the judgment of the jury should not be carried out," spokeswoman Nina Brook said.
"What happened tonight is a consequence of what happened 9 years ago. He committed the ultimate crime and he paid the ultimate price," said Alex Hopps Sr., who witnessed the execution. Rocheville "died in a very dignified way, which is more than my son."
Rocheville and Longworth were both 22 when they were charged with the deaths of Green and theater employee Alex Hopps Jr., 19, on Jan. 7, 1991.
Rocheville and Longworth, both former employees of the chain that owned the theater, were drinking earlier in the evening then went to see a movie.
Hopps was killed outside the back door of the theater at about 11 p.m., prosecutors said.
A short time later, Green was forced to open a safe. After Rocheville and Longworth stole about $3,000, they forced Green into a minivan and drove him to Inman where he was shot in the back of the head at the side of a road, prosecutors said.
Rocheville said Longworth pointed the gun at him and said, "It's either you or him."
Rocheville was sentenced to life in prison for Hopps' death and received the death penalty for Green's.
Longworth is also on death row, although his execution date has not been set.
About 24 people stood outside Broad Correctional Facility to protest the execution.
Rocheville becomes the 4th condemned prisoner to be executed in SouthCarolina this year and the 24th since the state resumed capital punishment in 1985.
(sources: Spartanburg Herald Journal & Rick Halperin)

    David Martin Long, 46, 99-12-08, Texas

Despite a recent suicide attempt and a last-minute effort by his lawyers to have his execution postponed, David Long was executed by injection Wednesday for the hatchet slayings of 3 women in 1986.
In a strong voice, Long, 46, apologized for the murders.
"I was raised by the California Youth Authority," he said, looking at the niece of one of his victims watching through a window a few feet away. "I was in their reformatory schools and their penitentiary, but they create monsters in there."
Long took short breaths as the drugs began taking effect, and a few seconds later he snorted and began gurgling. A blackish-brown liquid then spouted from his nose and mouth and dribbled to the floor.
Prison officials later said Long had vomited a charcoal solution administered at the hospital to neutralize the drugs he took in his suicide attempt. Long had been hospitalized Monday after overdosing on prescribed anti-depressants authorities believe he hoarded in his death row cell.
Long's attorneys sought a court order from his Dallas trial court judge, Edwin King, to have the execution postponed. King refused a reprieve, saying that because Long previously was judged competent to be executed, there was a presumption of competency.
Court rulings have determined an inmate must be aware of his surroundings and know why he is being punished before he can be executed.
Long was executed for the 1986 killings at a home in Lancaster, just south of Dallas. He was arrested in Austin about a month after the bodies of Donna Sue Jester, 37; her blind cousin, Dalpha Lorene Jester, 64; and a 3rd woman, Laura Lee Owens, 20, were found. All 3 had been beaten with a foot-long hatchet.
Long was hitchhiking and had been discharged from an alcohol abuse program in Little Rock, Ark., when Donna Jester gave him a ride and a place to stay.
"They objected to my drinking," he has said of the rampage. "I just got tired of hearing all the bickering."
Long becomes the 32nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, and the 196th overall since the state resumed executions on Dec. 7, 1982.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Bobby Lynn Ross, 41, 99-21-09, Oklahoma

In McAlester, Okla., Bobby Lynn Ross, 41, was executed for the 1983 shooting of an unarmed police officer during a motel robbery. Sgt. Steven Mahan was 30.
Ross admitted to the murder, saying: "Whatever happens to me, I deserve it. I do. I deserve it."
Ross becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma, and the 19th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990.
(sources: Associated Press)

    D.H. Fleenor, 48, 99-12-09, Indiana

In Michigan City, Ind., authorities executed D.H. Fleenor, 48, for killing his parents-in-law in 1982.
Bill and Nyla Harlow were shot at their home after attending a church service with Fleenor and his wife. Harlow survived, but Fleenor shot him again before fleeing to Tennessee with his wife and the 3 children.
Fleenor shunned attempts to save his life during the last few months and skipped his own clemency hearing 2 weeks ago, reportedly telling one clemency board member that he was guilty and to show him "no mercy."
Moments before his death, however, he declared: "I am not guilty."
Fleenor had been on death row for 15 years for the 1982 murders of his parents-in-law, Bill and Nyla Harlow of Madison, Ind.
U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton on Tuesday rejected a bid to prevent the execution.
Hamilton said in his ruling he lacked jurisdiction to decide the appeal lawyers from the Midwest Center for Justice filed without Fleenor's consent.
The petition asked Hamilton to stay the execution, appoint a psychiatrist to examine Fleenor and conduct a hearing to determine whether he's mentally competent. The lawyers also asked to be granted next-friend status, which would allow them to appeal Fleenor's sentence on his behalf.
But Hamilton said the lawyers had not provided sufficient proof of Fleenor's insanity to justify a new look at the issue.
Under the law, Fleenor was presumed sane, and there was no professional opinion to the contrary. A substantial volume of communications between Fleenor and the prison staff showed that Fleenor knew he was about to be executed and why, the judge wrote.
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a similar petition Monday.
45 prisoners will remain sentenced to death in Indiana, with all of but 2 at the prisons X Row, or death row, here, Nothstine said. 2 are on death row in Ohio under death sentences there as well as in Indiana.
No other prisoners are scheduled for execution in Indiana at this time. 2 of those awaiting death are at step 8 of the 9-step appeals process.
Fleenor becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Indiana and the 19th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1981.

Pope John Paul II asked Gov. Frank O'Bannon to grant clemency to D.H. Fleenor, who was executed shortly after midnight Wednesday at Indiana State Prison.
Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic pro-nuncio to the United States, informed Bishop Dale J. Melczek, bishop of the Gary Diocese, of the pope's action in a letter dated Nov. 27.
On Nov. 19. Bishop Melczek wrote to members of the Indiana Parole Board and O'Bannon asking them to commute Fleenor's death sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole.
"The imposition of the death penalty upon Mr. Fleenor only exacerbates the culture of violence, which so deeply characterizes society today," Melczek said in a press release.
The bishop also noted that the daughter and granddaughter of Fleenor's victims have both requested he not be put to death.
In a separate statement, Melczek said, "We are called to proclaim and to live the gospel of life. When we proclaim the gospel of life, we proclaim it unconditionally for all people from the unborn to the terminally ill to those who have committed heinous crimes."
(sources: Associated Press, Michigan City News-Dispatch & Rick Halperin)
A southern Indiana man convicted of killing an elderly couple in front of their grandchildren was executed by lethal injection early today.
D.H. Fleenor, who skipped some of the pre-execution rituals such as special menu for his final meal and selecting witnesses for the execution, died at 1:37 a.m., Indianapolis time, prison officials announced. It took 3 attempts to insert the IV into an artery, but Fleenor was cooperative, a prison spokeswoman said.
In his last words, Fleenor both claimed he was innocent and suggested he was responsible for the killings.
"I'm not guilty and I forgive these that are having to do this," he said.
"I was of an unsound mind when I did it," he added.
He also told prison officials that he loved his mother and forgave her, but did not explain for what.
The disinterest in his own death was a sign of mental illness and he was not competent to be put to death, according to attorneys who pursued Fleenor's last appeals without his permission.
His appeals turned down by the governor and federal courts, Fleenor phoned a sister and his ex-wife and chatted with a few prison friends.
Then he was strapped on a gurney and wheeled into the execution chamber, where drugs stopped his heart and breathing.
Gov. Frank O'Bannon early Wednesday turned down a clemency request. The governor's office released a five-page statement saying O'Bannon wouldn't "second-guess years of judicial proceedings" by commuting Fleenor's death sentence.
Wednesday night, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and finally Justice John Paul Stevens on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court, rejected the appeals. Fleenor was the 7th inmate executed in Indiana since the state reinstituted the death penalty in 1977.
Until then, the lawyers -- Tom Schornhorst, Alan Freedman and Carol Heise -- were staying in their offices, pursuing every opportunity to delay the execution despite objections from their former client.
"Practicality and his best interests dictate that we stay here and try to stop the execution of someone who is so mentally ill and incompetent that he doesn't even know he's going to be executed," said Heise, who works for the Chicago-based Midwest Center for Justice.
"We have to make a choice between litigating his issues or being there with a client who doesn't know he's going to be executed, and who thinks we're working for the state," he said.
Fleenor was convicted of the 1982 murders of Nyla Jean and Bill Harlow of Madison. He shot the pair as their daughter and 3 grandchildren looked on, then came back later and executed Bill Harlow, who experts say could have survived his original gunshot wound.
On Wednesday, Fleenor, 48, spent what probably was his last day alive in a way not much different from every day during his 17 years in prison, according to Department of Correction spokeswoman Pam Pattison.
Fleenor also socialized with the 41 other inmates who share death row with him, Pattison said. And he telephoned his sister in southern Indiana, Pattison said.
He received a message of forgiveness from one witness to the killings. Angie Harlow was 13 when her grandfather and stepgrandmother were killed. Now living in Anderson with a family of her own, Harlow called the prison Wednesday evening.
"I believe in forgiveness," she said.
Fleenor didn't ask to see a chaplain. But he did ask that prison staff who have come to know him over the years be allowed to visit him, Pattison said. Those staff members shared "idle chitchat," she added.
Fleenor's case has been an unusual one, according to the attorneys who continue trying to represent him. Heise points to his erratic behavior -- firing his attorneys, claiming to be represented by another, nonexistent attorney, and even trying to schedule interviews months after he is scheduled to die -- to bolster their argument that he isn't competent to face the executioner.
According to court documents, for example, Fleenor in November told prison staff that he wanted to tell the media "the truth about how his attorneys, the judge, and others lied." Yet according to DOC spokesman Barry Nothstine, Fleenor tore up a request last week from The Indianapolis Star for an interview.
In yet another twist in the case, O'Bannon found himself Wednesday denying clemency to a prisoner who never even asked for it. In his statement, the governor reasoned that Fleenor also never explicitly said he wanted the state to kill him.
O'Bannon rejected claims that Fleenor's mental state was deteriorating.
"The suggestion that Fleenor's present mental state renders him unfit for the death penalty is refuted by overwhelming evidence that he knows he is about to die; knows why; and appears to have accepted that he is about to face the ultimate punishment for his crimes."
The governor's office has received nearly 400 letters, most opposing the execution, said O'Bannon's spokesman, Phil Bremen.
A small group of death penalty opponents pleaded for Fleenor's life -- and for others to oppose all executions -- with placards outside the Governor's Residence at 46th and Meridian streets Wednesday night.
"I think it's disgusting and wrong that it's happening, and I want people to know that," said Claire Morrison, a junior at North Central High School.
About 50 more anti-death penalty protesters gathered outside the century-old prison in northern Indiana, joined by a few people supporting executions.
J.B. Shenk and 2 friends drove across the state from Goshen College for a vigil against the execution. Christ's example shows "we don't take life, but we save life," Shenk said.
Tim Blakley of Indianapolis was demonstrating for the death penalty at his third or fourth execution. He interpreted scriptures to say "the state is God's agent to carry out penalties on the wrongdoer."
Blakley said Fleenor's mental status was irrelevant and the execution should go forward.
That is essentially what courts decided after looking at the final appeals.
The Indiana Supreme Court on Monday unanimously agreed to let the execution go forward, saying Fleenor's attorneys didn't overcome the presumption of sanity.
And Tuesday, Judge David F. Hamilton of the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, also turned down the appeal.
"One wonders what public good is served by executing someone who doesn't even appreciate that retribution is being taken," Heise said.
(source: Indianapolis Star)

    James Beathard, 42, 99-12-09, Texas

A former state hospital worker was executed in the Texas death chamber Thursday for his part in a 1984 shooting rampage that left 3 members of a family dead in their East Texas home.
James Beathard, 42, a former psychiatric technician and substance-abuse counselor at the Rusk State Hospital, was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m. He was the 33rd Texas inmate put to death this year.
In a lengthy final statement, Mr. Beathard expressed love for his family, criticized the death penalty and the government, rebuked his prosecutor and repeated his long-held assertion that his co-defendant's lies led to Mr. Beathard's conviction.
"The United States has gotten to the point now where there is zero respect for human life," he said. "My death is just a symptom of a bigger illness."
After expressing love to his family and questioning the trial evidence, he added: "I'll see you all on the other side."
Then he looked at members of his family watching through a window a few feet away and, smiling, said: "Remember this? 'Help, Mr. Wizard! Help!'"
His unexplained exclamation drew chuckles from his family. As the executioner administered the lethal drugs, Mr. Beathard said, "It's starting. It's finished."
Eight minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
Mr. Beathard was convicted in the death of 14-year-old Marcus Hathorn in an Oct. 9, 1984, shooting rampage that also left the boy's parents, Gene and Linda Hathorn, dead.
Another son, Gene Hathorn Jr., also was convicted in the Trinity County killings and sentenced to death. His case is on appeal.
"I've had 15 years to prepare," Mr. Beathard said in an interview. "I know whatever I have to go to has got to be better than this."

But he said he worried about his mother, his wife and the 20-year-old daughter he saw this year for the 1st time since she was an infant.
The younger Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Beathard worked together at Rusk State Hospital until Mr. Beathard went to college in Nacogdoches at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Court records indicated that Mr. Hathorn supplied Mr. Beathard with illegal drugs that he could sell on commission. During their friendship, Mr. Hathorn talked about his desire to kill his father, stepmother and half-brother.
Mr. Hathorn hoped to collect an inheritance from his father and offered to share it with Mr. Beathard, court documents show. Mr. Hathorn later learned that he would receive nothing from his father's will.
Mr. Beathard acknowledged that he was at the family's mobile home in a remote area near Groveton the night of the slayings but said he did not participate.
"I didn't know anybody was killed," Mr. Beathard said. "I was expecting a drug deal."
Mr. Beathard said that after learning of the deaths, he initially lied to investigators because he feared for the safety of his own family.
Mr. Hathorn testified against Mr. Beathard, saying he had fired the shots and planted false clues to deceive police.
After Mr. Hathorn was convicted, he recanted his testimony, saying Mr. Beathard was innocent.
Trinity County District Attorney Joe Price, who prosecuted both men, said this week he was certain that both were guilty and that the convictions were solid.
"Not one of us has ever questioned this for a moment," he said. "Everything raised now has been raised for years and has been spoken for in the state and federal courts."

Texas has once again shown its ability to ignore the truth in its zeal to executte at all cost.
Yesterday convicted death row inmate James Beathard was put to death in Texas. To most, just another routine execution in a long assembly line of those being put to death. At least for me, this particular execution was painful. Painful because I believe Mr. James Beathard could have very well been factually innocent.
James' co-defendant at a hearing in Trinity County (Groveton, Texas) admitted that his testimony implicating James Beathard was perjured -- motivated by a promised "deal" by Trinity County Officials not to seek the death penalty against Mr. Gene Hathorn in exchange for testimony implicating a 2nd gunman. Mr. Beathard's purported accomplice therefore testified at Mr. Beathard's trial that he (James Beathard) aided and abetted in the commission of the crime. The crime was the murder of Mr. Gene Hathorn's family members.
This sad and tragic case illustrates what is wrong with capital punishment in America. ALl that is required to put someone in fear of a conviction and sentence of death is the legal jargon "beyond a reasonable doubt." While the United States Supreme Court has previously ruled in Herrera vs. Collins that it is no longer unconstitutional to execute an innocent person provided they were given a "fair and impartial trial," to untangle oneself from a wrongful conviction, "Clear and compelling evidence" is required.
Indeed, in the ultra conservative appellate system, an almost impossible threshold to reach. In other words, the same evidence that was able to put Mr. Beathard on death row and take his life, undone and shown to be false could not free him from it.
The public cheers the death penalty, but if they only knew the truth of what really goes on. I wonder if such extraordinary support would exist. Fortunately for me, after having spent 21 years on Texas death row innocent for a crime I did not commit (with recent DNA test results further echoing my innocence and exoneration), I won't have to anguish with that nightmare any longer.
Unfortunately, the Beathards of America's death rows do.
(source: Kerry Cook)

    Andre Graham, 29, 99-12-09, Virginia

Andre Graham was executed Thursday night for an October 1993 robbery and slaying outside a Richmond restaurant, despite claims from 2 other death row inmates that an accomplice said Graham wasn't the triggerman.
Graham, 29, was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center for the slaying of Sheryl Stack. He was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m.
Graham shook his head no when asked if he had a final statement.
Outside the rural prison's main gate, about a half dozen death penalty opponents held candles as the execution hour approached.
Less than an hour before the execution, Gov. Jim Gilmore rejected Graham's clemency petition, noting that Ms. Stack was killed execution-style. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied a stay late in the day.
Ms. Stack's boyfriend, Edward Martin, also was shot but lived and identified Graham as the gunman who approached the couple that night, ordered them out of the car and onto the ground, and promised not to hurt them if they closed their eyes.
Martin's eyes were closed when he was shot, but he testified that Graham was the last person he saw with a gun. Graham maintains that his accomplice, Mark Sheppard, shot Ms. Stack and Martin.
A death row inmate, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he had overheard Sheppard say Graham was innocent.
The inmate said he heard Sheppard, whose nickname was "Rock," talking to another inmate about Graham, who was known as ``Panama." The inmate said, "Rock said, 'You know, Panama shouldn't even be here. Panama didn't even pull the trigger. He was just there.'"
Federal death row inmate James Henry Roane, Jr., who spent time on Virginia's death row, said Sheppard had told him the same story one day when they were in the prison yard.
Sheppard was executed in January for an unrelated double slaying.
Graham was charged with the crime after he tried to get a roommate to get rid of the .45-caliber murder weapon that was hidden in Graham's apartment.
"Death row inmates have nothing better to do than perpetuate lies and myths about 3rd-party killers, last-minute evidence and a host of other smoke screens to try to avoid the death penalty,'' said David Botkins, a spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley. "Rather than trying to tie the legal system in knots at the last minute, they should be seeking forgiveness and apologizing to the victim's family."
Graham's attorney, Jeff Stredler, said they have a letter from Sheppard to Graham in which Sheppard concedes that Graham didn't shoot the couple.
Graham becomes the 14th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Virginia, and the 73rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. The 14 executions are the most in any year in Virginia since the death penalty was re-legalized in 1976. Virginia trails only Texas in the number of condemned inmates put to death in the USA since 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

    Robert Atworth, 30, 99-12-14, Texas

A convicted killer was executed Tuesday night for fatally shooting and stabbing a Dallas area man during a robbery, then slicing off the victim's finger and storing it in his freezer.
Robert Atworth, 30, of Dallas had asked that no appeals be made on his behalf and that he be executed for the murder 4 1/2 years ago of Thomas Carlson, 56, of Plano.
Strapped to the gurney, Atworth appeared cocky and chuckled as his mother walked into the death house carrying a stuffed toy, Tweety Bird, and waved it at him.
In his final statement, Atworth expressed love to his family and took responsibility for his execution.
He concluded by adding, "If all you know is hatred, if all you know is blood lust, you'll never be satisfied. ... I'm ready warden, send me home."
Atworth was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., 7 minutes after the lethal drugs began.
He became the 3rd Texas death row inmate to receive lethal injection within the past 7 days and the 34th this year. Another execution was set for tonight and at least 8 are scheduled for next month.
Atworth declined to be interviewed in the weeks preceding his execution date but told his lawyer at a court hearing earlier this year that he didn't expect to see his 31st birthday.
"He's very different and really quite smart," said Toby Shook, the Dallas County assistant D.A. who prosecuted Atworth. "He's weird but intelligent, and maybe the fact he's a little more intelligent, he realized this is inevitable anyway so he's going to go ahead and get it over with."
Carlson, a former insurance executive, was found shot to death April 2, 1995, between two trash bins behind a health club in the Dallas suburb of Richardson. Besides 4 bullet wounds, he also had knife wounds to his abdomen and chin and the little finger of his right hand, where he had worn a ring, had been severed.
Authorities believe Carlson was stopped on a freeway service road intersection when Atworth, impersonating a police officer, diverted him behind a health club where the robbery and shooting occurred.
Atworth was arrested the following day in Garland, another Dallas suburb. Police there answered a burglary call about a man trying to squeeze into a house through a dog door. When police found Atworth, he was carrying a pair of guns and Carlson's wallet, credit cards and jewelry. Carlson's car was parked nearby.
When officers went to Atworth's home, they found Carlson's finger in a plastic bag, the date scribbled on the bag, packed in ice. They also found the license plates to Carlson's car and a bag of bloody clothing.
Ballistics tests showed one of the guns, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, was the murder weapon.
In March, Atworth wrote the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals saying he wanted to waive all appeals. At a May hearing in his trial court, he repeated his request.
Psychiatrists appointed by the court to examine him determined he was competent to waive his appeals.
Atworth served jail time in Florida for violating probation after a 1993 conviction for selling marijuana out of his West Palm Beach condominium. In the mid-1980s, he was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for battery of a police officer when confronted while trying to break into his mother's home
(source: Houston Chronicle)

     Sammie Felder Jr., 54, 99-12-15, Texas

Convicted murderer Sammie Felder Jr. waited a long time to die. And when his death finally came Wednesday night at Texas' red-brick death house, it came without fanfare.
Felder, 54, a career burglar from Williamson County, had been on death row since summer 1976 for the 1975 murder of Jim Hanks, a paralyzed Houston war veteran.
Fedler's execution, the last in the United States before the year 2000, was the 4th in Texas this month, the 35th this year and the 199th since the state resumed executions 17 years ago.
Felder was executed shortly after 6 p.m. after Gov. George W. Bush and state and federal courts declined to intervene. Neither his family nor that of his victim witnessed his death. Only a handful of anti-death penalty protesters stood a chilly vigil at the prison's periphery.
As Felder's attorney, spiritual adviser and three friends filed into the witness room, which is separated from the death chamber by bars and a Plexiglas window, the condemned man smiled and said, "Like to tell my friends that I love them. Appreciate them being here to support me."
Then, as Chaplain Jim Brazzil placed a hand on his lower leg, Felder told Walls Unit Warden James Willett he was ready.
The lethal drugs began flowing at 6:09 p.m. Felder sighed, breathed heavily, coughed several times and lay still. He was declared dead 6 minutes later.
Brazzil inched toward the dead man's head, gently closed his eyes and removed his black-framed prison-issued glasses. The warden covered his face with a white terry cloth towel.
At the time of the murder, he was an orderly at a Southwest Houston apartment complex for the handicapped. He stabbed Hanks, one of his clients, 8 times in the head and neck with scissors during a robbery.
Felder -- convicted three times on burglary charges before the 1975 murder -- had spent most of his adult life in Texas prisons. Only 3 inmates had been on death row longer.
While there, prison officials said, Felder was a model prisoner. His advocates argued that he was a changed man who had experienced a religious conversion.
Except for a 14-year span in which he participated in a prison work program, Felder spent most of his time confined in his 6-by-10-foot cell.
On Tuesday morning, Felder was moved to a special holding cell at Ellis and placed under a suicide watch. At first, guards monitored his activity twice an hour, then virtually constantly.
Wednesday morning, the condemned man visited briefly with his attorney, Gregory Kasper of New York City, and his spiritual adviser, Jean LeFavre of Montgomery.
Shortly after noon, Felder -- described as calm, almost fatalistic -- was handcuffed, shackled and driven the final 17 miles to the death house in Huntsville.
Felder joked with prison staff, laughing over the fact that he had emptied his trust account to buy commissary treats for other death row inmates.
After it became clear that the execution would not be stayed, Willett asked Felder to step from his cell, and unhindered by restraints but surrounded by 5 guards, walk the final 5 yards to the execution chamber.
Once there, Felder was secured to a gurney with leather straps fastened around his ankles, thighs, chest and arms. Intravenous tubes were inserted in both arms, and a saline drip started.
The lethal mixture of sodium thiopental, a sedative; pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant to halt breathing; and potassium chloride, to stop the heart, was administered.
(source: Houston Chronicle)