OKLAHOMA LAST MEAL
December 17, 2002
Last Man Served...the kitchen is closed for the year...
Last Meal: a deep-dish supreme pizza, 7-Up and one slice of cherry cheesecake.
The skinny: Carter was executed for firing a fatal shot into a night watchman's head so he could steal a $500 tow truck. Carter, who had been fired from the auction for sleeping on the job, crawled through a hole in a fence, cut the lights to the guard shack and killed so he could steal a wrecker.
Last Words and such.... "I'll be with you all on the other side," Carter said, smiling at his family and lifting his head from the gurney. "I'm going home now." His mother, sister and spiritual advisers strode into the execution viewing room singing "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for my child."
As her son was dying, Carter's mother stood and walked toward the glass that separated them. Two guards gently took her arms and told her to sit.
"Please God, don't let this happen to no one else's child," she said after Carter was pronounced dead. "Spare the rest of the inmates, Lord. "His eyes might be closed, but he's not gone. He's tired of being accused of a crime he did not commit."
Backstage machinations...Carter's attorneys failed at a last-ditch plea for his life after Gov. Frank Keating denied the convicted killer clemency. They sent the governor a letter Monday asking him to reconsider last month's unanimous recommendation from the state Pardon and Parole Board to spare Carter's life.
It was the first time in more than 50 years that the board voted unanimously to recommend clemency for a condemned inmate.
Keating rejected the recommendations.
Factiods: Cartet was the seventh and last inmate executed in Oklahoma this year. Two executions are scheduled in January.
Carter is the 55th person executed in the state since Oklahoma reinstated the death penalty in 1977 and resumed executions in 1990.
In the 20 minutes before the execution, some of the 105 other inmates on death row banged on their cell doors and hollered - a show of respect for the condemned man.
ALABAMA LAST MEAL
December 12, 2002
Goodbye Yellow Mama...
Plus...a vending machine sandwich?!
LAST MEAL: a sandwich from a Holman Prison vending machine.
The Skinny: Anthony Johnson was executed for his role in the 1984 shooting death of a jeweler became the first Alabama inmate executed by injection. Johnson was not the triggerman in the robbery. Others who took part in the robbery have never been charged. At Johnson's trial, jurors voted 9 to 3 for life in prison without parole, but Morgan County Circuit Judge R.L. Hundley chose not to accept that recommendation and imposed the death sentence.
Johnson's case first gained notoriety when, to aid the prosecution effort, authorities had to get a court order to remove a bullet lodged in his back. They concluded the bullet was consistent with the victim's weapon, putting Johnson at the crime scene.
Final Words and such: At 5:53 p.m., corrections officers opened the curtain to the execution chamber where Johnson lay strapped to the gurney. He waved at witnesses and smiled. Johnson, 46, did not give a final statement. He acknowledged the presence of his pastor and a friend in the witness room and told the warden, "I'd just like to say to my friends I loved them. But they all know that I loved them."
Factoids: Lethal injection became Alabama's primary method of execution under a law passed earlier this year, leaving only Nebraska with the chair as the sole means to execute condemned inmates. Alabama's electric chair, known as "Yellow Mama" for its color, has been used since 1927.
The warden injected 6 different syringes, one after the other.
Death row inmates now have a choice--electrocution, which is supposed to be instantaneous, or lethal injection, a process which prison officials expected to take 7 to 12 minutes.
Johnson was the first to be executed in Holman's remodeled death chamber. Alabama spent $185,000 this year to create a new execution chamber for injecting prisoners.
Officials said there are 285 inmates on Alabama's death row.
OKLAHOMA LAST MEAL
JAY WESLEY NEILL
December, 12, 2002
Are you going to San Francisco?
Last Meal: a double cheeseburger, fries, peach or cherry cobbler, a pint of vanilla ice cream and a large bottle of cran-grape juice.
The Skinny: Jay Wesley Neill, a 37-year-old gay man, died by lethal injection. Neill was one of two men who robbed a bank in Geronimo, Okla., in 1984. During the robbery, Neill and his partner Robert Johnson stabbed three bank employees to death, and also shot four customers, one of whom also died. Neill was 19 at the time.
You can't live on love alone. Neill and Johnson met at a bar in February 1984 and became romantically involved. They shared an apartment, a car and the bills, but soon found themselves in money trouble. Neill had told two friends the bank would be easy to rob because it had little security.
In the days before the robbery, Neill and Johnson bought two knives and booked plane tickets to San Francisco. On the day of the robbery, the men bought a .32-caliber pistol and a box of ammunition. They also moved their flight departure time up from 6 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
At about 1:30 p.m., Neill held up the bank, officials said. He forced three employees into a back room where they were stabbed a total of 75 times, authorities said. "It was like everything else blacked out and you're not really aware of what was going on," Neill said during a taped interview with the religious television show "The 700 Club" in 1986.
An hour later, the men boarded a plane in Lawton headed for Dallas, then caught a connecting flight to San Francisco. They left Oklahoma with nearly $17,000 and booked a hotel room and 24-hour limousine service. While there, they shopped, toured the city and went to night clubs.
Witness accounts and tips from the men's friends led the FBI to their San Francisco hotel.
The Gay Brou-ha-ha: Opponents of capital punishment decry all executions, but in this case, advocates like Amnesty International have an additional reason to plead for clemency: anti-gay bias.
Addressing the jury during the sentencing phase of Neill's trial in 1992, the prosecutor said:
"I want you to think briefly about the man you're sitting in judgment on and determining what the appropriate punishment should be ... I'd like to go through some things that to me depict the true person, what kind of person he is. He is a homosexual. The person you're sitting in judgment on -- disregard Jay Neill. You're deciding life or death on a person that's a vowed (sic) homosexual ... But these are areas you consider whenever you determine the type of person you're sitting in judgment on. ... The individual's homosexual."
Last words and such: "I want everyone to know that I'm really sorry for what I did. I'm not sorry because I'm lying here dying. I hope you can find some comfort in that."
Neill said he was sorry for jeopardizing his salvation and repeatedly invoked the name of Jesus. As he made his last statement, Neill fought back tears and appeared distraught, at times saying he felt dizzy.
Factoid: In a separate trial, Robert Johnson was sentenced to life in prison.
In Oklahoma City, six people were arrested on misdemeanor civil disobedience complaints during a protest. Protester Wes Roberts said murder is the only crime that is duplicated by the state when an execution is carried out. "You don't rape a raper, rob a robber or mug a mugger," Roberts said. "That would be considered unconscionable."
Neill was the sixth person to be executed in Oklahoma this year and the 54th since the state resumed executions in 1990.
MISSISSIPPI LAST MEAL
December 11, 2002
No dining in the Magnolia state...
Last Meal: Williams ate nothing on his final day, forgoing even a last meal of his choice.
The skinny: Jessie Derrell Williams was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday for the 1983 rape and mutilation murder of an 18-year-old Jackson County woman.
Last statements: When asked if he had a final statement, Williams responded, "No, sir."
Packing for death row: Williams was transported to a 6-by-9-foot holding cell adjacent to the death chamber. An officer guards him at all times. In his cell, he is allowed only a red jumpsuit, standard attire for death row inmates; one set of underwear; and legal and writing material.
Factoids: The was Mississippi's second execution this year and the state's second in 13 years. Tracy Alan Hansen was executed in July by lethal injection. Before that the state had used the gas chamber.
The execution was delayed about 20 minutes while officials searched for a usable vein for the IV. A prison spokeswoman said dehydration contributed to the problem.
Williams declined to take a sedative, telling officials, "I say 'no' to drugs." He instead took two ibuprofen.
Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said prison officials had practiced the lethal injection procedure several times in the last week.
The Process: As a security measure, the penitentiary was placed on emergency/lockdown status Tuesday.
"It cuts down on unnecessary movement, (The other inmates) don't even get their hour of exercise. They don't get to leave their cells at all. Nobody moves."
At 6 p.m. today, six MDOC officers will escort Williams, whose hands and feet will be shackled, to the death chamber and strap him to a gurney. "If the inmate tries to resist, you have to have six people to take him down.
The penitentiary superintendent, a medical pathologist and a coroner also will be present. A microphone will be lowered over Williams' head in case he has final words.
A timekeeper and the executioner will be in a separate room. The IV runs from that room to the death chamber. Williams has asked that his body be donated to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
December 11, 2002
You can't always get what you want. No, really, you can't....
Last meals: Collier REQUESTED 30 jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, a baked potato, French fries, a T-bone steak, a chocolate malt, one gallon of vanilla ice cream and three cans of Big Red soda. He was GIVEN fried fish, chicken fried steak, baked potato and ice cream. No word given about the Big Red.
The skinny: James Collier was executed for shooting to death a mother and her son in misdirected rage. Mrs. Reed was visiting her son when a man
walked into the house with a rifle and began shooting. Collier apparently was enraged by one of Timothy Reed's roommates, Phillip Hoepfner, who was married to Collier's ex-wife.
Priors: Collier had served prison time for a number of other convictions before the murders, including the assault of carhop at a Sonic when he found out there was no salt in his bag.
"He beat the dog out of that boy," District Attorney Barry Macha said. "The kid testified during the punishment phase of the trial. He was 15, 16 years old and Collier was in his 40s."
Macha said there were numerous examples of Collier's extremely violent nature.
"We had another man testify during the penalty about an incident that wasn't tried from 1994, when Collier struck this guy in the face with a beer bottle," he said. "It took 380 stitches to close the gashes on his face. At one point in the 1980s (1987), his mother took out a restraining order against him. His own mother."
Final statement and the such: "The only thing I want to say is that I appreciate the hospitality you guys have shown me and the respect. And the last meal was really good. That is about it. Thank you guys for being there and giving me a little bit of spiritual guidance and support."
Factoids: Collier represented himself during his trial.
Collier was the 33rd convicted killer to have his execution carried out this year in Texas.
It also was the final execution scheduled for 2002 in Huntsville.
Texas has carried out 289 executions since resuming capital punishment in 1982.
Working overtime at DME: At least 14 executions are scheduled in Texas during the first three months of 2003.
OKLAHOMA LAST MEAL
JERRY LYNN MCCRACKEN
December 10, 2002
For my next selection, I choooo.....
Last Meal: McCracken's last requested meal was fried chicken, a package of hard cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, cottage cheese, slice of cherry pie, and a two-liter bottle of Sprite.
The skinny: Jerry Lynn McCracken, 35, was executed by lethal injection convicted of murdering four people in a Tulsa bar robbery. McCracken and an accomplice, David Keith Lawrence, killed four people while robbing the Tulsa bar on Oct. 14, 1990. The pair took $350 in the robbery. They blamed each other for the shootings.
Dinner and a show: "I sincerely apologize to you. Please forgive me," McCracken said to the victims' families in his last words. But there were no victims' family members present to witness the execution, although they are allowed under Oklahoma law. His last words were lengthy, and included both individual greetings to his witnesses, and as the execution grew closer McCracken led his family in singing the hymn, "They That Wait Upon the Lord" as the lethal drugs were coursing through his body, and he appeared to lose consciousness while singing.
After the time of death was declared, his mother said, "Thank you, Jesus, for taking my boy home." His mother sang softly after the execution.
Factoids: McCracken was the fifth person in the state to be executed this year and the 53rd since executions resumed in Oklahoma in 1990. Two more executions are planned this month in the state. Since statehood, 136 killers have been executed in Oklahoma.
They That Wait Upon the Lord
They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They that wait upon the Lord
They that wait on the Lord
Shall be as Mount Zion
Which shall not be removed
But abideth forever
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem
So the Lord is around
His people forever
Let not the hand of the wicked
Rest on the righteous
Unless the righteous put forth
Their hand into iniquity
Do good oh Lord to them that are good
And unto them
That are upright in their hearts
NORTH CAROLINA LAST MEAL
December, 10 2002
Grub is cheap on death row!
Last Meal: Carter's last meal consisted of two cheeseburgers, a steak sub and two Cokes from the prison canteen. He declined to ask for a special last meal and paid $4.20 from his prison account for the food.
The skinny: Carter stabbed his elderly neighbor over a few dollars for drugs. Carter was intoxicated on alcohol, crack cocaine and tranquilizers when he stabbed Purdy 13 times with a butcher knife and took $15.
Last words and such: "I love you, pop," Carter mouthed to his father.
In a last statement recorded by the warden, Carter said: "The only thing I would like to say is that I apologize to the victim's family of Ms. Purdy and I would like to apologize to my family for the disappointment and pain I have caused them throughout my life."
THE HEATHENS!: The U.S. Supreme Court denied anappeal filed late Monday on the grounds that some jurors used a Bible during deliberations.
Factoids: Carter spent part of his last evening watching TV, requesting to see the "Billboard Music Awards" on Fox.
Carter was the 23rd person executed in North Carolina since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.
FLORIDA LAST MEAL
December 9, 2002
Satan 1, Jesus Christ coming to bat...
Plus, Florida plays cheap with the grub...
LAST MEAL: Bottoson ate a regular prison meal that included beef patties, cheese and bread. He did not get a special meal because was given one on two other occasions when his executions were postponed.
The Skinny: Linroy Bottoson, an inmate who believed he was locked in a battle between Satan and Jesus Christ, was executed Monday for the kidnapping, robbery and slaying of a postmistress 23 years ago. Bottoson pronounced dead at 5:12 p.m. for the Oct. 26, 1979, murder of Catherine Alexander, who was robbed, held captive for 83 hours, stabbed 16 times and then fatally crushed by a car. Bottoson had three reprieves before one took.
Last Words and such: When asked if he had any last words, Bottoson said, "No sir, no." He accepted Valium before the execution, which was viewed by the victim's son and other family members.
RETARDED IN FLORIDA?: Psychiatrists who found that Bottoson understood that he was about to die and the reasons for his execution, two requirements under Florida law.
Dr. Wade Myers, a state psychologist, testified Monday in Orlando that while Bottoson sometimes hears God and believes if he were to stand at Alexander's grave God would resurrect her, that does not mean Bottoson is mentally ill.
"There are evangelists every Sunday who have large viewerships who say they're also receiving the same messages from God," Myers said. "I think when you begin to label fundamental Christian beliefs as psychosis, it's not justified."
Abe Bonowitz, director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, blasted the state's definition of ``competence.''
''You have to be a vegetable not to be competent for execution in this state,'' Bonowitz said before the execution.
OH, THE HORROR: Court documents show that Bottoson's mother was obsessed with religion and forced Bottoson to constantly read the Bible, pray, and preach from street corners from ages seven to nine.
FACTOIDS: An anonymous executioner pushed three syringe plungers sending a deadly mix of drugs into IV tubes needled into Bottoson's arms. He died quickly.
:( In 20 years in prison, Bottoson never had a visitor, other than his attorneys or the prison chaplain. Monday was no different.
No one claimed the killer's body either, and his ashes will be buried at the prison where he was executed.
NORTH CAROLINA LAST MEAL
December 6, 2002
Why request a special meal when you can have three-bean salad?
Last Meal: Basden chose instead to eat what all others at Central Prison ate: Breaded veal, brown gravy, mashed potatoes, three-bean salad, mixed vegetables, slices of loaf bread, an orange and fruit punch.
The Skinny: Basden was executed nearly 11 years after he murdered an insurance salesman in a contract killing. Basden shot the man in a January 1992 murder-for-hire scheme devised by co-conspirators James Lynwood Taylor, his nephew, and Sylvia Ipock White, the victim's wife.
Basden and Taylor lured the victim to a remote logging road in Jones County under the pretense of buying insurance. There, Basden, drunk on alcohol and high on drugs supplied by Taylor, shot the victim twice with a single-shot shotgun. Taylor gave his cash-strapped uncle $300 for the killing.
Last words: Basden, a self-professed Christian, made a last statement asking his victim's family for forgiveness. "I killed Billy White, I'm sorry for it and I pray that his family will come to forgive me and let time heal their wounds and that's all we can do. There's got to be forgiveness for the healing to start and the only way to do that is through Jesus Christ."
Process Notes: Basden, lying on a gurney and covered by a sheet, made no eye contact with his family or any other witnesses as lethal doses of chemicals were administered to him intravenously. The 50-year-old Jones County man appeared to die in his sleep and without pain.
Meeting the Big Guy: In an interview Tuesday, Basden, who spent his last days ministering to fellow inmates, had said he expected to go to heaven if he died today. He said he wasn't sure what he would say to God when he got there. "I expect I'll be in awe for a few days," Basden said.
Factoids: Six jurors signed statements that they would have opted for life without parole if that sentence had been available. Such a sentence has since been approved by the Legislature in first-degree murder cases.
Basden was the 22nd criminal executed in North Carolina since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
December 4, 2002
Cain and Abel with oral in Texas...
Plus, drugs and dominos!?
Last Meal: One whole fried chicken (extra crispy), salad with Thousand Island dressing, French toast, two diet Cokes, one apple pie, and French fries
The skinny: Rojas confessed to killing his common-law wife and brother, whom he suspected of having an affair. Rojas, who had returned home after a night of drugs and dominoes, noticed Reed coming out his brother's bedroom in the double-wide trailer they shared. A jealous Rojas, who believed his wife was sleeping with his brother, immediately confronted her. Reed denied the accusation with a laugh. They went to the bedroom where Reed performed oral sex on him, after completion of said oral sex, Rojas shot her between the eyes with a .32-caliber pistol. He then called his brother out of the bathroom and shot him to death. Noticing his wife was still breathing on their bedroom floor, Rojas tied a plastic bag over her head and stacked pillows and blankets on her body.
Final words: Rojas, wearing a white collared shirt that partially exposed his chest, responded "No."
Regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention: Leonard Rojas said recently he had no regrets about shooting Jo Ann Reed between the eyes after having one last sexual encounter with her.
"I'll never regret it. Never," he said of the 1994 killings. "These people, they were just basically evil. They just wanted my money, wanted my drugs and they wanted to do me in."
Factoids: Rojas was the 32nd person executed in Texas this year, bringing the total to 288 since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982.
"At least he's not crying about it," said the Texas Ranger who took Rojas' confession. "He is stepping up to the plate like he always did. He was a pretty pleasant ol' boy -- the crime aside."
TEXAS LAST MEAL
November 20, 2002
Grumpy old dead man...
Last Meal: Same meal that is served to all other offenders in the main dining room.
The Skinny: A 66-year-old convicted killer was executed by injection, sentenced to death for the murders of three people in Ft. Worth -- becoming the oldest inmate Texas has put to death. Chappell bitterly professed his innocence on the gurney before the drugs stopped him mid-sentence. He also denied molesting a 3-year-old child that authorities said led him to commit the slayings.
Last tirade and such: "My request to you is to get yourself in church and pray to God he forgives you because you are murdering me. You know damn well I didn't molest that child. You all are murdering me and I feel sorry for you. I don't know what else to say. Please go to church and say ...," he said, unable to complete his sentence.
Factoids: Chappell was the oldest convict executed in Texas since the state took over capital punishment duties from counties in 1924.
A year before the killings, Chappell was convicted of indecency with a child for molesting a 3-year-old girl. He was sentenced to five years in prison but was free on bond, pending appeal.
Chappell was the 31st convicted killer executed in Texas this year and the 287th since the state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.
Previous oldsters: Pre-1977, Henry Meyer was the oldest when he was put to death June 8, 1955, at age 65. Since Texas resumed executions in 1982 with lethal injection, two convicted killers, Betty Lou Beets and Clydell Coleman, were the oldest at 62 when they were put to death.
MISSOURI LAST MEAL
WILLIAM JONES, JR.
November, 20. 2002
webmaster, artist, murderer, dead...
Last Meal: None
The Skinny: William Jones Jr. was executed for murdering a man at a suburban Kansas City park frequented by gay men.
Early Years: Defense lawyers said Jones had a confused sexual identity from a bizarre childhood of early exposure to sex by his own parents, and erotic strip dancing his sister had led him into. Early in his life, Jones was exposed to both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
I gave my love a cherry....: Once, his father broke a guitar over his head.
Defense attorney Charlie Rogers cited a neuropsychologist's finding that Jones suffered from "ego dystonic homosexuality"-confusion about one's sexual identity and uneasiness about homosexual inclinations.
We said, they said: Jones' attorneys said he panicked when Albert propositioned him. Jones had maintained he shot Albert in self-defense after Albert made unwanted sexual advances.
But prosecutors called it a cold-blooded execution-style killing over a car. They contend Jones plotted the killing after meeting and dating Albert and deciding he wanted his Camaro. The lawyer who prosecuted Jones' case, dismissed the "gay panic" defense, noting that Jones was bisexual and living with a gay lover at the time of the murder.
The best defense...But sexual confusion wasn't Jones' only problem. Attorneys say the lawyers who represented Jones at his murder trial were inept. One was an alleged alcoholic who has since been disbarred. Another now works as a pit boss in a gambling casino.
Love in the strangest places. The case drew attention in Europe, where opposition to the death penalty is strong, since Jones married an Austrian, Gerti Jones in January 2001. They'd met over the Internet a year earlier. Jones described her husband as charming, intelligent, ``extremely sensitive'' and a ``great artist.''
A sample of his work...
Final sentiments: "I regret what has happened. I do not deserve death for it. To the family of the victim: does this really give you a sense of closure or simply a sense of vengeance?"
Factoids: Prison officials said 32 capital punishment opponents protested the execution outside the prison.
Jones was the sixth Missouri inmate put to death this year and the 59th since the state's death penalty was reinstated in 1989. Missouri ranks third, behind Texas and Virginia, in number of executions since 1976.
On the Net: William Jones' Web site
TEXAS LAST MEAL
November 19, 2002
"They're trying to sell me as a nut case..."
Last Meal: None
The Skinny: Ogan received a lethal injection for shooting an officer during an argument near the Astrodome in downtown Houston.
Alais stuff: Ogan was fascinated with espionage, spoke several languages and longed for a job with the CIA. He said he was building a track record by working as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and had moved to Houston because he feared his cover had been blown. When he arrived in Houston the DEA told him not to carry a gun or work any more drug deals. Ogan armed himself, however, and tried to get involved in drug transactions again. Ogan saw Boswell and his partner, Clay Gainer, had made a traffic stop across the street and he approached their patrol car, tapping on the window and stating he was an undercover agent. Boswell repeatedly told him to wait a minute but he continued to knock on the window. The officer then got out of the car and told him he was facing arrest. Bogan then shot Boswell in the head.
Final statement and such: Ogan claimed the case against him was fabricated and that he killed the cop in self-defense. "The people responsible for killing me will have blood on their hands for an unprovoked murder," he said. "I am not guilty; I acted in self defense and reflex in the face of a police officer who was out of control." His statement stopped in mid-sentence as the drugs took effect. In a meeting earlier, Walls Unit warden Neill Hodges had told Ogan he would have two minutes for his final comments.
Factoid: Ogan was the 30th convicted killer executed this year in Texas and the 286th since the state restored the death penalty in 1982.
Several dozen police officers and police supporters arrived on motorcycles shortly before Ogan's scheduled execution hour and stood down the street from the prison entrance.
The execution was delayed for nearly an hour while the U.S. Supreme Court considered a pair of 11th-hour appeals that questioned Ogan's competency and mental health.
"They're trying to sell me as a nut case," Ogan said of his attorneys' efforts. "I don't appreciate that."
VIRGINIA LAST MEAL
Mir Aimal Kasi
November 14, 2002
Last Meal: fried rice, bananas, boiled eggs and wheat bread.
The skinny: Kasi, a Pakistani Muslim militant, was executed for the 1993 shooting deaths of two CIA workers. He killed the two and wounded three others as they sat in their cars outside agency headquarters in a Virginia suburb of Washington. Kasi walked along a row of stopped cars, shooting into them with a semiautomatic AK-47 rifle. He then fled to southern Afghanistan and later to Pakistan, where U.S. agents arrested him in 1997. Kasi confessed to the slayings during the return flight, saying he was angry over CIA meddling in Muslim nations.
Last words: Kasi softly chanted "There is no god but Allah," in his native tongue until he kicked.
Machinations denied: Governor Warner said Kasi admitted to the murders and had showed no remorse. He said the death penalty is the appropriate punishment in this case.
PEEVED PAKIS: Tribal leaders in Quetta, Kasi's hometown, called for a strike Friday.
Pakistani politicians pleaded with American officials to spare Kasi's life, saying commutation could "win the hearts of millions" and help the United States in its war on terrorism. Hundreds of religious students protested in Pakistan this week, warning Americans there that they will not be safe if Kasi was executed.
Last week, the State Department warned that Kasi's execution could lead to acts of vengeance against Americans everywhere. Two days after his conviction, assailants shot and killed four American oil company workers in Karachi, Pakistan.
87 Killers, How Many Victims? About 80 death penalty opponents held a candlelight vigil in a field near the prison. Bundled against the cold, they read the names of the 87 people Virginia has executed since capital punishment was reinstated in 1982, along with their victims. A Muslim cleric read a prayer in English and Arabic.
Kudos to the Post: For an fascinating article on the search for Kasi, visit The Washington Post.
Kasi, who carried 150 rounds of ammunition that day, was aiming only at men -- he believed killing women, who did not have any power in his country, would be wrong. He stopped firing only because there was no one left to shoot.
GEORGIA LAST MEAL
November 13, 2002
3 victims, 3 eggs. Oooookay.
Last meal: three eggs over light, toast, bacon, hash browns, vanilla ice cream and two soft drinks.
The skinny: Putman was executed Wednesday for the deaths of a couple sleeping at a south Georgia rest stop 22 years ago. Putman approached a family sleeping at a rest area on July 10, 1980. The family was traveling home to Kentucky from a vacation at Daytona Beach, Fla. Putman shot the car's driver. Then Putman demanded that his wife leave with him. She refused and screamed for David as he lay dying. Then she was shot in the head. He also was serving a life sentence for killing a school teacher at a truck stop the day before.
MCI day: Putman had instructed his attorney on Tuesday to drop his final appeals, and spent his last two days meeting with 29 family members and friends.
Hell No! on that prayer Putman declined to make a final statement.When asked, he said, "No, thank you." Asked if he wanted a prayer, he said, "No, No." Putman did not close his eyes as the chemicals used for execution went through his system. He looked straight ahead and muttered something unintelligible.
Factoids: It was the state's eighth execution by injection.
The execution was witnessed by Shannon Blincoe, daughter of the slain couple, who was in the front seat of the car when her parents were shot. She was eight months old at the time. Three older children also were in the car when the shootings took place.
There were about a dozen anti-death penalty demonstrators outside the prison during the execution.
Huh? "Every time we execute somebody it's repeating the violence we're supposed to be against," said Laura Moye, one of the protesters. "The state shouldn't have the power to take human life because it can't give life back when it makes mistakes."
FLORIDA LAST MEAL
October 9, 2002
lesbian, prostitute and the confessed killer of seven men...
Last Meal: Wuornos didn't order a last meal and skipped the regular fare of barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, apple crisp and tea but had a cup of coffee about 12:30 a.m. Instead Wuornos ate a hamburger and other snack food from the prison's canteen. Later, she drank a cup of coffee.
The skinny: One of the nation's few female serial killers was executed by lethal injection, Wuornos shot to death at least six middle-aged men along Florida highways. Using a roadside cafe near Daytona Beach she murdered six middle-aged businessmen who approached her for sex between 1989 and 1990, accompanying them into the woods and shooting them. Her story has been portrayed in two movies, three books and an opera.
She initially said the killings were in self-defense after she was assaulted by customers who picked her up. But she later said the self-defence claim was a lie and she intended to rob and kill the men.
"I'm one who seriously hates human life and would kill again," she wrote earlier this year. "I have hate crawling through my system." Keeping her alive, she added, would be "a waste of taxpayers' money".
Buzz was high: Three dozen reporters, two dozen television cameras and a dozen satellite trucks camped out in the cow pasture across the road from the Florida State Prison.
Attendance was low: Wuornos was the most famous Florida death row inmate to be executed since Ted Bundy, but her execution attracted only about a tenth of the crowd of supporters, opponents and curiosity-seekers that Bundy received in 1992.
"I thought it would be bigger," said Jennifer SantaLucia, a Clearwater bingo hall worker who described herself as someone who "loves serial killers." She unsuccessfully tried corresponding with Wuornos and has received letters from Danny Rolling, who is on death row for killing five Gainesville students.
Reporters outnumbered the 30 death penalty protesters who gathered in a semicircle with signs reading "Execution is not the solution" and "Time out on executions."
Final words: In her final statement, she referred to Jesus and a blockbuster movie. "I'd just like to say I'm sailing with the Rock and I'll be back like Independence Day with Jesus, June 6, like the movie, big mother ship and all. I'll be back."
Wuornos' last night was spent talking with a "friend: from Michigan, Dawn Botkins. The pair talked from 9 p.m. to midnight Tuesday, and prison officials said Botkins planned to claim the body. Botkins plans to scatter Wuornos' ashes in Michigan, their childhood home.
Prison logs show she had been increasingly agitated, sleeping restlessly and even shouting out in her sleep once.
Officials said she was calm Wednesday morning as she was placed on a steel gurney, her arms taped down to wooden paddles. Thick leather straps held her down from the chest to the feet. A white sheet hid the straps but revealed their outlines.
A clear tube wound its way from under the gurney and into a vein in her right arm, just at the soft spot where the inside of the elbow bends.
A female guard stood by her head; a male guard stood at her left side, in front of a curtained closet where an anonymous executioner waited for the warden's order to begin.
When the order was given, Wuornos blinked and swallowed hard.
At 9:32, Wuornos gasped, shut her eyes and opened her mouth as if to form a word.
She did not move again.
For the next 15 minutes, witnesses watched her lips turn an ever-darker blue and her skin a pallid white.
At 9:47, a doctor checked for a pulse and heartbeat. It was announced the death sentence had been carried out.
The curtains closed and the witnesses left.
Factoids: Wuornos, 46, became the 10th woman executed in the United States since capital punishment resumed in 1977. Oklahoma has put three women to death; Florida and Texas have executed two each.
Opponents of the death penalty say the execution was timed to boost the popularity of Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida and the president's brother, just weeks before he stands for re-election.
Wuornos is the 10th woman executed in the US since 1976, when the death penalty for women was reinstated after a brief moratorium. The previous woman executed in Florida was Judy Buenoano, the "Black Widow", electrocuted in 1998 for killing her husband and drowning her paraplegic son.
Wuornos was one of 52 women on Death Rows throughout the U.S. and one of three in Florida.
In the past 100 years, 48 women have been executed in the United States.
FLORIDA LAST MEAL
October 2, 2002
Mariel, Class of 1980...
Last Meal: Sanchez had a last meal of chicken fried rice, fried fish filets, avocado salad, cheesecake and milk.
The skinny: Sanchez-Velasco was put to death Wednesday for the 1987 rape and murder of 11-year-old Kathy Ecenarro in Hialeah. The convicted killer dropped all appeals and volunteered to be executed. Sanchez, a refugee who came to this country from Cuba during the Mariel boatlift in 1980. While in prison he was subsequently convicted for his role in two slayings in the Florida State Prison and sentenced to 15 years for each one (sentence suspended as of today).
WELL, WHICH ONE IS IT?...Sanchez once told a judge, "I hate people. I don't like them. I want to kill people. You understand?" But as Sanchez-Velasco lay shackled to the death table at 9:31 a.m., warden Brad Carter asked him if he had any last words. ''I love you, everybody,'' the condemned man called out to more than three dozen people seated on the other side of the witness room windows in the death chamber at Florida State Prison in Starke.
UMMMM, I DON'T THINK SO...The moment Sanchez-Velasco finished speaking, Carter spoke into a beige phone asking Gov. Jeb Bush if there would be a stay of execution. There wasn't.
Factoid: It was the first execution in Florida since Jan. 11, 2001. He was the fifth inmate to volunteer to be executed since 1987, the 52nd to die since the resumption of executions in 1979 and the 247th to be put to death in Florida since 1924. There are 368 inmates on the state's death row.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
October 1, 2002
All that caffeine would keep me up.
Last Meal: One pot of coffee.
The skinny: On October 6th, 1990, 10-year Falyssa Van Winkle was abducted from a Beaumont flea market where her mother and step father sold goods. James Rexford Powell was also a flea market vendor. The former Merryville resident had even visited with Falyssa and her step father at their booth the same morning she was killed. Falyssa was last seen going to buy peanuts at the flea market.
Prior court: Although Powell had no previous convictions, he was arrested in 1984 in Beauregard Parish, La., on charges of attempted murder, attempted aggravated rape and aggravated burglary for beating and shooting a woman at her home in Merryville, just east of the Sabine River in Louisiana.
A Louisiana jury acquitted him in that case.
Final statement: Powell, 56, said nothing to the family of Falyssa Van Winkle's family. "I'm ready for the final blessing," was all Powell said. He smiled to friends and family and mouthed, "I love you." They then read the Litany of the Passion. Ed. Note: Click here to see this Litany
Johnny Cash Moment: As Warden Neill Hodges of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit pulled the white sheet over Powell's lifeless body, a long train whistle blew on a nearby track.
Factoid: Powell was the 29th condemned Texas inmate to receive lethal injection this year and the fifth inmate in the past three weeks. At least six more executions are scheduled through the end of the year.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
September 25, 2002
Tide gets the stains out!
LAST MEAL: Half of a fried chicken (cooked in garlic powder and red pepper), French fries, one Dr. Pepper, and hot sauce.
The skinny: Calvin Eugene King, who had at least four other felony convictions, was executed for the robbery and killing of Billy Wayne Ezell during a Beaumont drug deal in 1994. King was on parole at the time. He earlier had multiple convictions for theft in Dallas County in the 1980s before being released on parole or mandatory supervision when Texas prisons were overcrowded and court orders required some inmates to be freed.
HASTE MAKES NO WASTE: In 1995, a Jefferson County jury deliberated only 30 minutes before deciding King was guilty and deliberated just an hour before deciding he should receive the death penalty.
COOKING WITH CASH: The prosector said the money stolen was literally "blood money". He said a witness testified to seeing King and Johnson using her oven to dry the stolen money they had washed to remove Ezell's blood.
Last words: In his brief final statement, King said, "I want to say God forgives as I forgive and God is the greatest. Thank you." He looked at witnesses nodded and smiled before looking back at the ceiling.
Factoid: King was the second Texas inmate to be executed in as many days and the 28th this year.
OHIO LAST MEAL
Robert A. Buell
September 25, 2002
It's the pits.
LAST DAY PRE MEALS: Buell went to sleep Tuesday at 7:36 p.m. and woke at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. He had a bologna and cheese sandwich and coffee last night. He shaved at 4:48 a.m., showed at 5:07 a.m. and ate a half a bowl of bran flakes with a 16-ounce cup of milk for breakfast.
THE VERY LAST MEAL: Buell ate his special meal Tuesday--a single black, unpitted olive. Prison officials had no clue why he wanted to swallow an olive with its pit. They researched, but failed to find, any significance in the request.
UPDATE: It seems Buell was a student of last meal history....
Victor Ferguer, the last prisoner executed by the federal government until Timothy McVeigh in 2001, was hanged in 1963.
His last meal--an olive with the pit still in it.
He told prison officials that he hoped it would sprout from his body an olive tree -- a sign of peace.
Feguer's body was unclaimed by family and was quickly taken away by a funeral home after the execution and buried.
His unmarked grave in a barren corner of a public cemetery bears no olive tree.
The skinny: The state executed Robert A. Buell this morning for the murder of an 11-year-old Wayne County girl 20 years ago. Harrison, 11, was abducted across the street from her home. She was picking up aluminum cans when she encountered Buell, then 42.
YOU ARE GETTING SLEEPY: After a brief delay,State and federal courts turned down last-minute appeals based on objections that prosecutors had hypnotizing witnesses at Buell’s trial.
Last words: Buell gave a one-minute statement directed to the parents of Krista, who he was convicted of raping and strangling. “Jerry and Shirley, I didn’t kill your daughter. The prosecutor knows that ... and they left the real killer out there on the streets to kill again and again and again."
No Answers: Buell also has been implicated, but never charged, in the deaths of Deborah Kaye Smith, 10, of Massillon in 1983 and Tina Marie Harmon, 12, of Creston in Wayne County in 1981. Circumstantial evidence linked him to the deaths of all three children.. Police had hoped Buell would confess to Smith’s death before he was executed. He didn't.
A VERY BAD MAN:Buell also was serving a minimum 121-year sentence for abducting and raping two adult women in 1983. He was arrested when one of the women escaped from his home. He had taken her there at gunpoint, handcuffed her to a bench and later a bed, sexually molested and tortured her for hours. The woman escaped, and that led police to him as a suspect in the girls’ deaths.
CHERRY PICKING PROTESTERS: The number of protesters have shrunk since Ohio switched to daytime executions. Also, one protester stated that "Buell is a 'less sympathetic figure,' she said, because the victim was a child and Buell is not mentally ill."
FACTOIDS: Buell is the fifth man Ohio has executed in the last three years. Buell will be the first executed inmate to be buried in a cemetery operated by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in Chillicothe. Buell had 12 attorneys, including Ohio public defenders, over 20 years.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
September 24, 2002
LAST MEAL: Scrambled eggs with shredded cheese, cream gravy, hash browns, pan sausage, orange juice and milk.
No clowning around...execution #800!
The skinny: Warning: Gacy/Pogo Alert! Mays, who occasionally earned money performing as Uh-Oh the Clown and dressed as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny parked his car a few blocks from home the day of the killings, choosing to walk home so he could think about how to tell his wife he had lost his job. He stopped outside the Wiley home, where 10-year-old Kristin's mother was down the street visiting with a neighbor. Music from a stereo was blaring and he followed the sounds to a bedroom, where the girl was with her younger friend. She refused his request to turn down the volume. "Here I had just gotten fired and some kid's telling me, 'No,'" he said in the confession. He went to the kitchen, the girls behind him telling him to leave. "It was just like something came over me," he said, explaining how he grabbed a knife and turned toward the children, who screamed and ran to a bedroom. He followed and killed them, "still feeling badly about how my day had gone," he said in the confession.
Then he went home, changed shirts before greeting his wife, and took a shower, telling his wife he had just seen someone run through the yard.
DEMENTED: As police swooped into the northwest Harris County neighborhood that July afternoon, Mays grabbed a lawn chair and sat outside to watch the scene. Interviewed by detectives, he said he saw two men scaling a backyard fence during the time the girls would have been killed. It was pursued as the first lead in the case. "That turned out to be a lie," McClellan said.
Despite a reward fund that grew to at least $25,000 and a billboard campaign that kept the two girls in the public eye, it wasn't until more than a year later after a Harris County sheriff's detective befriended Mays as part of the investigation that Mays cracked.
DOOFUS: Mays had no previous criminal record but acquaintances described him as a bad-tempered liar and braggart. A co-worker called him a "doofus, ... creepy but harmless."
Final Moments: While strapped to the gurney in the death chamber, Mays gave a final statement that touched on his religious beliefs and thanked his supporters. He did not apologize to the relatives of the victims, who were present. "Warden, just give me parole and let me go home to be with the lord," Mays said just before the lethal drugs were injected into his veins.
Factoids: The execution of Rex Mays was the 800th in the U.S. since the Supreme Court lifted a national death penalty ban in 1976. Mays was the 27th person executed this year in Texas, the nation's death penalty leader, and the 283rd since it resumed capital punishment in 1982.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
September 18, 2002
LAST MEAL: Nachos with chili and cheese, one bowl of sliced jalapenos, one bowl of picante sauce, two large onions (sliced and grilled), tacos (with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese), and toasted corn tortilla shells.
Texas Man Executed for Murder of College Student
The skinny: Shamburger killed a fellow student at Texas A&M University while burglarizing her home in 1994. He was condemned for murdering Lori Baker, 20, after he broke into her College Station, Texas, home on Sept. 30, 1994, to steal money. Baker, who months before had gone dancing with Shamburger, awoke to find him in her bedroom, so he shot her in the head. He then used a knife to try to remove the bullet from her head and when he could not find it, poured gasoline over her body and set it on fire. Shortly after the murder, Shamburger went to the College Station Police Department to turn himself in, emptying the bullets from his gun on the floor while he did so.
Last moments: In a final statement while strapped to a gurney in the Texas death chamber, Shamburger quoted extensively from the Bible and apologized to Baker's family, several members of whom witnessed the execution.
Factoids: Shamburger was the second person in two days and the 26th person this year put to death in Texas. Shamburger was the 282nd person put to death in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982, six years after a U.S. Supreme Court decision lifted a national death penalty ban.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
Jesse Joe Patrick
September 17, 2002
LAST MEAL: None
The skinny: Patrick, was sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and murder of a neighbor. Patrick was found guilty of brutally killing 80-year-old Nina Rutherford on the night of July 8, 1989.
OJ REDUX: Police obtained a search warrant and searched Patrick's house the next day, finding a sock caked in dried blood, an amount of toilet paper with dried blood on it, and a pair of denim jeans also covered in blood. Testing showed the blood on the sock and toilet paper to be a genetic match with Redd's; Patrick's girlfriend identified the butcher knife as her's and a partial palm print from Redd's bathroom window sill matched Patrick's.
ANGER WOMAN: Wearing a red shirt, Patrick made no final statement. After a few moments, Patrick made one long sputter and lost consciousness. His wife began to sob and emitted a loud wail. After a few moments, she turned away and began to address Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees in the room with her, calling them "bastards." "I hope you are satisfied now," she said. "You ought to do something about your justice system. This is a disgrace and you should be ashamed of yourselves."
TEXAS LAST MEAL
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Oh, that Texas Death Row Fried Chicken!
LAST MEAL: French fries, five pieces of fried chicken and three (3!) Dr. Peppers.
The skinny: Walker was condemned for raping and murdering Virginia Simmons at her home in the northeastern Texas town of Daingerfield on May 23, 1992. He confessed to killing her husband, 82-year-old Willie "Bo" Simmons in the same attack, but was not prosecuted for the murder.
Walker, who lived nearby and knew the victims, told police he went to their home under the pretense of having a beer, when his real intent was to steal money so he could buy cocaine. He beat both of them to death with a board and a cane, sexually assaulted Mrs. Simmons before and after killing her and took cash from Mr. Simmons' wallet.
Good Seats Available: Attendance for Walker's execution was sparse, with no witnesses from the family of the victims or from Walker's family. The only media representatives were from the Associated Press and The Huntsville Item.
Fashion Trend-Setter??? Walker, clad in a light blue dress shirt and dark blue slacks, was not covered by a sheet as is customary for most executions.
Nine Minutes: Start to Finish: He struggled with his emotions during his final statement, which he began at 6:07 p.m.
After thanking friends in Switzerland and Great Britain, Walker became emotional when speaking of his family.
"And to my family..." he said before breaking into a sob. After composing himself, he said to "Walls" warden Neill Hodges, "That's all."
As the fatal dose began to flow at 6:08 p.m., Walker began to recite the Lord's Prayer. He reached the phrase, "Thy kingdom come" before being overcome by emotion.
Addressing Texas Department of Criminal Justice chaplain Richard Lopez, Walker said, "Help me, Chaplain." Lopez continued the prayer as Walker gasped and lost consciousness, shedding a tear as his eyes shut. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m.
Remorse: In a written statement, Walker apologized for the crime.
"I wish to tell the family how sorry I am about what I done. I know that nothing I say will bring Mr. and Mrs. Bo Simmons back."
Factoids: Walker, 36, was the 24th person put to death this year in Texas, which leads the nation in capital punishment. Another four Texas inmates are scheduled to die this month.
He was the 280th person executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982, six years the Supreme Court lifted a four-year national ban on the death penalty.
Walker served two years (2!) for a previous murder conviction before being released in the early 1980's.
Texas' next execution is set for Sept. 17, when Jessie Patrick was scheduled to receive a lethal injection for raping and killing an 80-year-old woman in 1989.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
Thursday, August 8, 2002
Teen killer does a little beef, chicken and pork....
LAST MEAL: Triple meat cheeseburger with fried bun and everything, French fries, ketchup, four pieces of chicken (two legs and two thighs), and one fried pork chop sandwich
The Crime: Jones, an eighth-grade dropout who was a teenager when he was convicted of killing a man during a carjacking was executed by injection. Jones was 17 when he was arrested with three companions for gunning down 75-year-old Willard Davis, who had surrendered his car to them outside his home in Longview, about 190 miles north of Houston.
WORDS OF REMORSE: T.J. Jones, looking at relatives of his victim, apologized for the 1994 slaying.
"I would like to say to the victim's family I regret the pain I put y'all through. I hope you can move on after this," said Jones, 25, before the Thursday night execution.
"I was very thankful he apologized," the victim's wife, Geraldine Davis, said after watching Jones die. "It's the first time he's ever showed any type of remorse."
PARTNERS IN CRIME LIVE ON: The three teenagers with Jones during the carjacking were convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity and received long prison terms.
AMNESTY SPEAKS: Jones' sentence and his age at the time of the shooting renewed criticism from traditional death penalty opponents. As a teenage offender, Jones "would not be facing this punishment in almost any other country in the world," Amnesty International said in a statement.
Gregg County District Attorney Bill Jennings responded: "He did an adult crime and he deserves to receive an adult penalty, which in this case 12 jurors decided should be death."
TEXAS LAST MEAL
May 22, 2002
The Skinny: Johnny Joe Martinez, sentenced to death for the 1993 killing of a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk, was executed Wednesday evening in the death chamber of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.
Last Words: During his lengthy, rambling final statement, Martinez told his family and friends he loved them. "Tell mama I love her too," he said. "I didn't call her because I just couldn't." Martinez also apologized to the father of Clay Peterson, the 7-Eleven clerk he murdered the night of July 15, 1993. "I am sorry," he said simply, then proceeded to criticize his original lawyers for permitting his execution. "My trial lawyers - they are the ones that are killing me," he said. "I know I'm fixing to die, but not for my mistakes. I'm dying for the mistakes of my lawyers." Speaking to his current lawyer, Martinez said, "David Dow, let them know what happened. "I am fine; I am happy," Martinez said to his family just before the lethal combination of chemicals was started at 6:18 p.m. "I will see you on the other side."
The Crime: On the night of July 15, 1993, the then 20-year-old Martinez visited a 7-Eleven store in Corpus Christi twice in the early morning hours of July 15, 1993. During his first visit around 3 a.m., Martinez used the store's restroom and shoplifted several items. After returning to his friend's car, he noted how easily it would be to rob the store. Twenty minutes later, Martinez returned. Once in the store, he pulled out a pocketknife, put it to Peterson's throat and demanded money. Peterson complied with Martinez's demands and gave him the money in the store's cash register. Martinez then proceeded to stab Peterson at least 10 times, including twice in the neck. Peterson also sustained several scratches to his neck and wounds to his hands.
Peterson, though having been stabbed twice in the jugular vein, was able to call 911 and report the attack to police before losing consciousness. Martinez's friend, having seen what was happening inside the store, fled the scene in his car. Left on foot with police approaching the scene, Martinez fled to a nearby motel. He then called the police and admitted to the crime, though he said he had killed Peterson because he had resisted his demands.
The entire sequence of events was caught on the store's security camera and disproved Martinez's claim. Arraigned on capital murder charges the same day, Martinez pleaded not guilty in the 347th State Judicial District Court. The trial began January 24, 1994, and concluded with Martinez being found guilty of the charge just two days later. The next day, the jury assessed a punishment of death for the crime.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
May 28, 2002
Last Meal: NONE
The Skinny: Napoleon Beazley, who gained worldwide attention for killing a Tyler man when he was 17 years old, was put to death Tuesday evening in the death chamber at the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.
Beazley was convicted and sentenced to death for the April 19, 1994, killing of 63-year-old John Luttig. Beazley, who was his high school's class president and a standout athlete, shot Luttig twice in the head from nearly point blank range while trying to steal his Mercedes Benz. Beazley had previously told friends he wanted to "jack a car" and find out what it was like to murder someone.
On April 18, 1994, the day before Luttig's murder, Beazley told his friend Cedric Coleman - who would be an accomplice in the crime - that he wanted to "jack a car." On April 19, he told a friend at school that he "might be driving a (Mercedes) Benz soon."
That night, Beazley borrowed his mother's car and drove with Coleman and his brother Donald to Tyler. On the way to Tyler, Beazley repeated his intention to steal a car and said he wanted to find out what it was like to kill someone. As they entered Tyler, Beazley spotted a 1987 Mercedes driven by Luttig. Luttig and his wife Bobbie were returning from a trip to Dallas when they passed Beazley and the Coleman brothers.
The trio followed the Luttigs to their house, at which time Beazley stripped off his shirt and ran towards the car. Donald Coleman followed him, carrying a sawed-off shotgun. Beazley opened the driver's side door and fired one shot with his pistol, hitting Luttig in the head but not killing him. He then fired at Mrs. Luttig and missed. Bobbie Luttig then played dead on the ground, hoping that Beazley and Coleman would think the shot fired by Beazley had hit her.
Beazley then returned to John Luttig and shot him again in the head, killing him instantly. He then asked Coleman if Mrs. Luttig was dead, to which he replied that she was still moving.
"Shoot the (expletive)," Beazley said. Coleman then said she had stopped moving and was dead.
Beazley obtained his objective - the Mercedes - but only for a short time. He quickly ran into a retaining wall and was forced to abandon it. Beazley rejoined the Coleman brothers and returned to Grapeland. A few days later, Beazley told a friend in conversation that he had committed the crime and was arrested a short time later. When asked by his father if he had indeed killed Luttig, Beazley said he had.
"It was a trip," he said.
Notes: In spite of a flood of e-mails and letters of protest from anti-death penalty activist groups, only two dozen protesters were outside the "Walls" Unit as Beazley's sentence was carried out. These protesters, in turn, were faced with a similar number of reporters and cameramen documenting their every move.
Last Words: Beazley was asked if he had any last words. Beazley, who had written out a final statement in advance, turned his head and looked into the room holding the witnesses and two members of the media. "No," he said simply, shaking his head. He then looked back up at the ceiling and shut his eyes.
Beazley did, however, have a lot to say in his page-long written statement, released to the media after the execution.
The complete text of Beazley's final statement:
FINAL STATEMENT OF NAPOLEON BEAZLEY, TDCJ EXECUTION #999141:
The act I committed to put me here was not just heinous, it was senseless. But the person that committed that act is on longer here - I am.
I'm not going to struggle physically against any restraints, I'm not going to shout, use profanity, or make idle threats. Understand though that I'm not only upset, but I'm saddened by what is happening here tonight. I'm not only saddened, but disappointed that a system that is supposed to protect and uphold what is just and right can be so much like me when I made the same shameful mistake.
If someone tried to dispose of everyone here for participating in this killing, I'd scream a resounding, "No." I'd tell them to give them all the gift they would not give me ... and that's to give them all a second chance.
I'm sorry that I am here. I'm sorry that you're all here. I'm sorry that John Luttig died. And I'm sorry that it was something in me that caused of this to happen to begin with.
Tonight we tell the world that there are no second chances in the eyes of justice ... Tonight, we tell our children that in some instances, in some cases, killing is right.
This conflict hurts us all, there are no SIDES. The people who support this proceeding think this is justice. The people that think I should live think that is justice. As difficult as it may seem, this is a clash of ideals, with both parties committed to what they feel is right. But who's wrong if in the end we're all victims?
In my heart, I have to believe that there is a peaceful compromise for our ideals. I don't mind if there are none for me, as long as there are for those who are yet to come. There are a lot of men like me on death row - good men - who fell to the same misguided emotions, but may not have recovered like I have.
Give those men a chance to do what's right. Give them a chance to undo their wrongs. A lot of them want to fix the mess they started, but don't know how. The problem is not in that people aren't willing to help them find out, but in the system telling them it won't matter anyway.
No one wins tonight. No one gets closure. No one walks away victorious.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
STANLEY BAKER JR.
May 30, 2002
Last Meal: A former employee of the Winn-Dixie supermarket in Bryan, Baker's final meal request would have filled a shopping cart. Two 16 oz. ribeyes, one lb. turkey breast (sliced thin), twelve strips of bacon, two large hamburgers with mayo, onion, and lettuce, two large baked potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, and chives, four slices of cheese or one-half pound of grated cheddar cheese, chef salad with blue cheese dressing, two ears of corn on the cob, one pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and four vanilla Cokes or Mr. Pibb
The Skinny: Stanley Baker Jr., convicted for the 1994 killing of a College Station man and sentenced to death by a Brazos County jury, was executed Thursday evening in the death chamber of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.
Fashion Note: Baker, 36, was dressed in a red button-down shirt as opposed to the normal prison whites that most inmates wear. His closely cropped hair was graying at the temples, and he was wearing Coke-bottle glasses.
Last Words: At 6:09 p.m., Baker was asked if he had any last words.
"Well, I don't have anything to say, so let's go," he said.
When warden Neill Hodges asked Baker if he was sure, he said, "I'm just sorry about what I did to Mr. Peters. That's all."
In his final statement, Baker misidentified his victim. One problem: Baker was put to death for killing 44-year-old Wayne John Walters on Sept. 28, 1994.
The fatal dose of chemicals was started at 6:10 p.m.
"My arms are cold," Baker said. "There's some pain in my left arm. I guess that's from the poison."
Baker then suddenly coughed twice, wheezed, and was silent. He was pronounced dead at 6:19 p.m.
Baker, the 15th person executed in Texas this year, gained some international attention due to his place of birth. The son of a member of the U.S. Air Force, Baker was born in Paris while his father was based there. Formal requests for clemency from members of the French government and the European Union were sent to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but were rejected. Fewer than 10 protesters were outside the "Walls" Unit as Baker was executed.
On the night of Sept. 28, 1994, Baker was walking down Texas Avenue in College Station with a shotgun. He had recently quit his job at Winn-Dixie after writing an obscenity-filled letter of resignation. Baker said he walked into the adult video store located near the Texas A&M University campus to get out of the heat. Walters was the only person in the building when Baker entered.
Baker produced a shotgun and took Walters' car keys without resistance. Baker then shot Walters three times, including once in the back of the head as Walters lay face down on the floor. Walters was killed instantly. Baker stole between $40 and $50 from the store's cash register.
During the robbery, Baker split his lip and broke one of his front teeth when the shotgun recoiled and hit him the face.
Baker took Walters' pickup truck and attempted to flee the area. He was able to successfully leave Brazos County, but was apprehended in Bastrop by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper. Baker still had blood on his shirt from his split lip.
When the DPS officer took Baker into custody, the murder weapon, ammunition, a brass knuckled stiletto, a bulletproof vest, a garrote, and some survival gear were recovered.
Authorities also discovered a notebook in which Baker had written his goals for the year. One caption which read: "30+ victims dead. 30+ armed robberies. Steal a lot of cars."
Baker told DPS troopers that he had intended to kill not only Walters, but anyone else who was in the store when he entered.
Baker was indicted on a capital murder charge Oct. 27, 1994, with the trial starting in July 1995. During the trial, the prosecution produced evidence which documented Baker's weapons stash and his writings which exhibited a hatred towards gays, blacks and former President Bill Clinton. They also introduced evidence of Baker's plans to go on a killing spree similar to one by Charles Whitman, who shot 16 people with a high-powered rifle from the clock tower on the campus of the University of Texas in 1966.
VIRGINIA LAST MEAL
June 12, 2002
Last Meal: Mickens chose nothing special. He was served what the rest of the population at Greensville had - baked chicken, rice and carrots. He ate only the chicken.
The skinny: Walter Mickens Jr. was executed by injection last night at the Greensville Correctional Center for the 1992 slaying of a 17-year-old boy. Mickens, who sexually assaulted Timothy Jason Hall and stabbed him 143 times. Any one of 25 wounds could have been fatal.
Last Words: In his last statement, Mickens said, "I would just like to say in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and Jesus' name, I forgive Gov. Warner for his decision and whoever I may have hurt or caused harm to, I pray that you can forgive me. I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused. And to all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I wish you well."
Notes: A handful of capital punishment opponents gathered in a field outside the prison. As darkness fell, they held a candlelight vigil in protest of the execution.Meanwhile, about a dozen protesters gathered in a field outside the prison. Fighting off mosquitoes as the sun set, the group gathered around several candles and prayed.
Norfolk resident Laura Stowe has been writing Mickens for several months. She said she received religious letters from him filled with poems and drawings.
"They were very childlike," said Stowe, a member of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. "Nothing of any depth."
Mickens was the third killer executed this year in Virginia and the 86th since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed resumption of the death penalty in 1976.
Mickens had been on death row longer than any current Virginia inmate was executed Wednesday for the killing of a teenager in 1993.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
June 13, 2002
Last Meal: One tray of French fries with salt and ketchup, one tray of nachos with cheese and jalapenos, one cheeseburger with mustard and everything, and one pitcher of sweet tea
The Skinny: Daniel Reneau, a 27-year-old construction worker, was executed Thursday evening for killing a Kerrville convenience store clerk during a robbery more than six years ago.
Reneau had no final statement. As the drugs began flowing, he looked at Chaplain Richard Lopez and said, "I thought you were going to speak to me." The chaplain said he would. Reneau's eyes then fell partially shut, his cheeks filled with air and he exhaled one last time.
The Deed: Evidence showed Reneau entered the store before dawn on Jan. 2, 1996, and shot Keeran once in the face with a .22-caliber pistol. Then joined by roommate Jeffrey Wood, they robbed the store of more than $11,000 in cash and checks. Both were arrested within 24 hours. According to court records, Wood was waiting outside the store and came in after Keeran was shot, then both fled with the store safe, a cash box and a video recorder containing a security tape showing the robbery and slaying.
Reneau was the 16th Texas inmate executed this year, one short of the total number of executions in the state for all of last year. With three more lethal injections set for later this month, Texas is on a pace to rival the record 40 executions carried out in 2000.
MY MISTAKE: Reneau said he thought at the time of the crime only treason or trying to kill the president or something similar would make one eligible for the death penalty. He thought Wood, for example, would end up with only about a five-year sentence. Wood joined him on death row. He does not yet have an execution date.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
May 16, 2002
Chicken Streak Ends at Five.
Liberty County man exected for son's murder
LAST MEAL: Mexican platter with all the works, two classic Cokes, pickles, olives, and Cookies and Cream ice cream
THE SKINNY: Styron was sentenced to death for beating his 11-month-old son to death. Under Texas law, the killing of any person under the age of 6 can automatically be considered a capital case.
LAST WORDS: "I know where I am going," Styron said. Addressing his family, he added, "I want to see you there, so get your heart right. You know I love you and care for you." Styron then said, "I am going to go see my little boy now and I'm going to have some fun with him." Choking back tears, Styron addressed his family a final time, saying, "Y'all take care and I love y'all."
FACTOIDS: Styrondid not believe the child was actually his and was the product of an alleged affair by his wife.
Styron had a history of committing violent acts. He was discharged from the military after striking his sergeant and had attacked one of his neighbors, breaking his jaw.
Styron was the 12th Texas inmate put to death this year.
LOUISIANA LAST MEAL
Leslie Dale Martin
May 10, 2002
PEELING SOME CRAWFISH
Condemned killer meets death, extends no apology to family
THE SKINNY: Leslie Dale Martin went to his death Friday night for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old McNeese State University coed. A Calcasieu Parish jury sentenced Martin to death for the June 20, 1991, rape and murder of Christina Burgin, 19, who was last seen leaving a Lake Charles bar with Martin. Her decomposing body was found nearly two weeks later in a shed near Iowa, in Calcasieu Parish. Prosecutors said Martin, after raping Burgin, choked her with a rope, cut her throat, gouged out her eyes and jumped up and down on a board placed across her neck. They said Martin blinded his victim to prevent her from identifying him if she survived.
FACTOIDS: Before facing the executioner's needles, Martin offered no public apology for the slaying, Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Burl Cain said.
It was Louisiana's 27th execution since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979 and the first since June 2000.
Martin had a date with death on Feb. 8, but U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia halted the execution about 20 minutes before Martin was scheduled to enter the death chamber at Angola's Camp F. The high court decided in March, however, not to hear his case.
The temporary stay of execution was Martin's fifth, and followed attempts by his attorneys to discredit the testimony of a witness they called a "jailhouse snitch."
Louisiana law allows the death penalty only when there are certain aggravating circumstances in a murder. In Martin's case, it was the commission of a rape.
SUSAN SARANDON MOMENT: The Moratorium Group, a New Orleans-based organization chaired by death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean, called for rallies Friday evening at several locations across the state to protest the execution.
The group pointed to Thursday's decision by Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening to suspend all executions in that state until the University of Maryland completes a study to determine whether racial or geographical bias figures in death sentences.
"I would hope our governor recognizes the very same problems exist here in Louisiana," Prejean said in a statement released Friday.
PACKED HOUSE: Martin's did not get his first choice for a familiar face in the witness room. Martin asked Thursday that an investigator on his legal team be allowed to witness his final moments, but Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder turned down the request.
Louisiana law allows no more than seven people to be present for an execution, and Martin waited too late to make his request because the seats in the witness room had been allotted.
LAST MEAL AND A SHOW: Martin ate his last meal consisting of boiled crawfish, crawfish stew, garden salad, cookies and chocolate milk at 4:45 p.m. after saying good-bye to his mother and sister about an hour earlier.
Cain said Martin joked with his Buddhist spiritual adviser about peeling crawfish during the meal.
THE DEFIANT ONES: In November 1999, Martin and three other condemned men rocked Angola when they escaped from their cells and the building that houses Louisiana's Death Row.
After officers found them missing, an Angola chase team and a bloodhound tracked them down in a swampy area of the prison grounds near the Mississippi River.
Cain blamed the security lapse on a guard who accepted a bribe to smuggle hacksaw blades to the inmates and inattention by other officers who should have noticed the men cutting their cell doors and a window during a two- to three-week period.
No one was prosecuted because of the incident, however.
ALABAMA LAST MEAL
Lynda Lyon Block
May 10, 2002
JUST CAUSE YA GOIN' KILL ME, DON'T MEAN I CAIN'T LOOK NICE
Block first Alabama woman executed since '57
LAST MEAL: None...a girl's gotta keep her figure! She consumed only water and milk.
THE SKINNY: Condemned for the 1993 shooting death of Opelika police Sgt. Roger Lamar Motley Jr. Block, 54, and George Sibley were convicted of capital murder in the death of Motley, who was shot repeatedly in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Sibley was also sentenced to death; his execution date hasn't been set. Block, a member of the patriot movement who believes the government is illegitimate and the State of Alabama does not exist, refused to file appeals to courts that she contended are biased and have no jurisdiction.
I FEEL PRETTY, OH SO PRETTY: Block wore a white prison outfit with her shaved head covered by a black hood. She wore light makeup, with mascara and a light shade of pink lipstick.
FACTOIDS: Block was the first woman to die in Alabama's electric chair in more than four decades. When the execution began a 2,050-volt, 20-second shock Block clenched her fists, her body tensed and steam came from the sponge on her head and the electrode on her left leg. She then received 250 volts for 100 seconds. Block could be the last person to die in Holman Prison's electric chair, known as "Yellow Mama." The Legislature in April made lethal injection the prime method of execution in Alabama. “Yellow Mama,” the state’s has been in use since 1927. On July 1, lethal injection becomes Alabama’s preferred method of execution, though inmates can still choose to be electrocuted.
Before Block, the last woman executed in Alabama was Rhonda Martin in 1957. She poisoned six family members.
IN THE ZONE: "She seemed to be somber, somewhat stoic," said Alabama Prison Comimssioner Mike Haley. "She never displayed any emotion throughout the very end. Her stare was a very blank stare, an emotionless stare."
SOUNDS OF SILENCE: She made no final statement.
YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT: "I ask that my body not be desecrated by autopsy, for it is against my religious beliefs to desecrate a body," Block wrote in her will. State law requires an autopsy anyway.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
May 9, 2002
CHICK, CHICK, CHICKEN. FIFTH TEXAN IN A ROW GOES WITH POULTRY. FRANCHISE POSSIBILITIES?
Man executed for 1993 rape, murder
Last Meal: Four pieces of fried chicken and two Cokes.
The skinny: Reginald Reeves was executed Thursday night at 6:22 in the Huntsville "Walls" Unit death chamber for the 1993 murder of a 14-year-old girl.
Reeves, 28, was convicted of the rape and strangulation death of Jenny Lynn Weeks in Clarksville at the age of 19. Bite marks on her body and DNA evidence tied Reeves to her death.
LAST WORDS AND WORDS AND WORDS: In his last statement at 6:10 p.m., Reeves spoke at length of forgiveness and love.
"I pray we may all learn to love and forgive and have peace in this world," he said while strapped to the death chamber gurney. "The only way we're going to find peace in the world is to have forgiveness. If you don't learn to forgive, you're not hurting anyone but yourself."
He then addressed the victim's family saying, "I apologize for taking the life of your daughter and I know how much pain you must be in because I saw my family today."
Reeves thanked the warden and his spiritual advisor, and after a long silence, said his last words to his mother: "I love you mother."
FACTOIDS: Reeves was the 11th Texas prisoner put to death this year. No final-day appeals were filed, and the United States Supreme Court refused to review his case or stop the lethal injection Thursday.
In the final entry in her diary dated Sept. 9, 1993, Weeks (the victim) wrote of being a bit lonely but otherwise happy living at Reeves' apartment. She was killed later that day.
Reeves was on probation at least twice as a juvenile for assaults -- once at age 11 when he was accused in 1985 of sodomizing 5- and 7-year-old boys with a stick, and again in 1990 when his mother contacted authorities about his unruly behavior, including an assault on her.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
April 18, 2002
Texas Death Row Inmate Executed
LAST MEAL: Fried chicken (3 drumsticks and 3 thighs), 1 quart coleslaw, tea or juice, vanilla ice cream, and 1 Dr. Pepper
THE SKINNY: Caey was executed Thursday for killing a 22-year-old woman in a scheme to steal a gun collection from a Houston-area home nearly 13 years ago. Casey, 47, had hoped to sell the stolen weapons to raise money so he and his girlfriend could go to Florida, according to testimony at his capital murder trial. The girlfriend, Carla Smith, received a 10-year prison sentence for her part in the plot. Sonya Howell was shot nine times during the July 10, 1989, robbery at a mobile home in New Caney, northeast of Houston. The victim was a friend of Smith. Dozens of assault rifles, deer rifles, shotguns and pistols were taken from the doublewide trailer. All belonged to Howell's boyfriend, authorities said.
SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Casey, a twice-convicted burglar, did not give a final statement before he was given the lethal injection.
FACTOIDS: FAMILY REACTION..."I wanted to see him suffer," the victim's mother, Linda Howell, said after the execution. "It was very, very extremely disappointing. We watched him close his eyes. ... And that was that. Too easy." Howell said she had hoped to meet with Casey in an attempt to forgive him, but her requests were refused. "I will never forgive him now," she said.
SOUTH CAROLINA LAST MEAL
May 3, 2002
FRIED, FRIED, FRIED.
LAST MEAL: Fried shrimp, fried oysters, french fries, chocolate cake and iced tea.
Trooper's murderer executed
THE SKINNY: Richard Charles Johnson was put to death Friday evening for killing a state trooper in 1985 despite a confession from one of Johnson's former co-defendants. Johnson's appeal to the state Supreme Court was rejected Monday, and Gov. Jim Hodges denied a request for clemency on Thursday. Then Friday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down three appeals from Johnson's lawyers. Johnson died by lethal injection at 6:18 p.m. Friday, a prison official said.
A hitchhiker Johnson had picked up along the highway, Connie Sue Hess, originally testified that Johnson killed the officer. But years later, while being treated at a mental facility in Nebraska, Hess said she killed Smalls. A jury never heard the claim, though, and that was the crux of most of Johnson's appeals and the rallying cry of those who lobbied against his execution.
LAST WORDS: "It is hard to explain how frustrating it is to be here year after year when you have no memory of what happened and not to be able to defend yourself," Johnson said in his final statement, read by his lawyer John Blume. "It is also hard to understand a system that would allow two people charged with a crime to go free and take another man's life."
Before he died Friday, Johnson, strapped to a gurney, mouthed a conversation with his brother John, who was in the front row of the viewing area. Although they were separated by glass and metal bars, Johnson told his brother, "I love you" and "I'll see you later." Johnson touched his chest over his heart, and his brother responded by touching his own chest.
Nine witnesses watched Johnson's seemingly lifeless body for 14 more minutes before a doctor pronounced him dead with a nod.
FACTOIDS: Defense attorneys managed to stop Johnson's October 1999 execution a day before it was supposed to happen when they produced Hess' sworn statement saying she killed Smalls. The state Supreme Court assigned a judge to decide whether Hess' confession was credible. He ruled Hess had told so many different stories about what happened that day that her testimony could not be believed.
Johnson was the 26th man executed since South Carolina resumed capital punishment in 1974. No state has sent that many men to death without a single offer of clemency.
After Hodges' decided not to grant Johnson clemency, Blume blasted the Democrat for putting his re-election campaign before justice. "We can only believe that clemency was denied out of fear that the governor's political opponents might use the commutation against him," Blume said in a written statement. Already this campaign season, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate has been attacked by his Republican opponent for opposing capital punishment.
"Ricky Johnson is to be sacrificed at the altar of election-year politics," Blume said.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
April 30, 2002
Dead Man Walk...uh, Hopping
..plus, Call the Colonel, 4th Texan in a row orders the fried chicken...is it the special herbs and spices?
The Crime: Condemned to death by a Comal County jury after being found guilty for the murder of 20-year-old Victor Cervana, Mexican national in 1985. According to information provided by the Texas Attorney General's office, Hernandez met Cervan and four other young Mexican men who had entered the United States illegally after they disembarked from a train in San Antonio.
For a fee, Hernandez offered to drive the men to Denton, where they hoped to find work. Hernandez and his brother-in-law, Jesse Garibay, drove the men to a secluded area near New Braunfels, where they stopped the car and pretended they were having car trouble. Hernandez and Garibay ordered the men out of the car at gunpoint and robbed them.
One of the men attempted to run away and was shot by Hernandez in the back. The other four were ordered to lay on the ground, and Hernandez shot each of them in the neck, killing Cervan. Four of the injured men survived and testified against Hernandez at his trial.
After returning to San Antonio, Hernandez boasted to several people about his role in Cervan's death. After watching a news report about the shootings, Hernandez told his sister that he was "a gunslinger" and had been told by President Ronald Reagan that "Texas was overpopulated and to get rid of some of San Antonio's illegal aliens."
A Jackie Robinson Moment: He became the first amputee to die by lethal injection inside the Huntsville "Walls" death house. Hernandez, who lost his left leg to complications from diabetes last July, had at one time hoped to be fitted with a prosthetic leg. Medical complications put an end to that possibility, and Hernandez was wheeled into the room, denying him a request to be fitted with a prosthetic device so he could walk to his death "like a man". Hernandez accused the state of refusing to fit him with an artificial leg because of the expense -- $8,000.
Last Words and Words and Words: Noting the tightness of the bonds holding him to the gurney on Tuesday, Hernandez said, "You've got me strapped down like I want to escape. I don't want to escape. I want them to do what they're going to do. I know the procedure." Looking at his friends, Hernandez said, "Thanks to everybody." "Everybody will be all right, because y'all are going where I'm going," he said. "Remember what I said, I want to see you all where I'm going. I'll be all right."
Hernandez then repeated the phrase, "Here I am God, I'm coming to do your will," three times in a weakening voice. Hernandez grunted loudly twice as the fatal dose of drugs was started at 6:12 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m.
The Alibi: "I was there, but not as the shooter," Hernandez said. "I was identified by those men, but it was all a mistake. They were not in this country legally and they would tell the police anything you want them to say. If I had a lawyer, we could get DNA evidence to clear me."
Last meal: Two double meat cheeseburgers (all the way), french fries, three beef skirt tacos, guacamole salad, salt, and two fried chicken breasts.
Factoids: Forty days after winning a rare reprieve from the governor Hernandez was executed. Days before his scheduled March 21 execution, Hernandez told San Antonio police he had information about numerous murders in his hometown. When some of his details checked out, police asked Gov. Rick Perry to halt Hernandez's punishment. Perry agreed, using his authority to issue a one-time 30-day reprieve. San Antonio police looked into Hernandez's claims of participating in or witnessing at least 12 murders but have said very little about their probe.
Hernandez was the 10th person put to death this year in Texas, which leads the nation in capital punishment, and the 266th since the state resumed executions in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a national death penalty ban.
OHIO LAST MEAL...APRIL 26, 2002
The Last Meal...Mr. Coleman requested a final dinner of filet mignon, sauteed mushrooms, sweet potato pie with whipped cream, butter pecan ice cream, biscuits with brown gravy, broccoli with cheese, french fries, cherry coke, a green lettuce salad with French dressing, collard greens, onion rings, fried chicken breast and corn bread.
In lieu of filet mignon Mr. Coleman was served a New York strip steak. All the food came from the prison kitchen, except the ice cream. Mr. Coleman ordered the largest final dinner of any Ohio condemned inmate to date.
One Bad Man Straps on The Feed Bag!
The Skinny...Mr. Coleman, 46, of Waukegan, Ill., was sentenced to death for the 1984 beating death of Marlene Walters, 44, of Norwood. Coleman, who along with girlfriend, Debra Denise Brown, cut a murderous swath during the summer of 1984 murdering four adults and four children during a six-week reign of brutality that wove through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.
That rampage took him to Lexington in mid-July where Mrs. Walters' auto was found abandoned in a cornfield near Lexington July 15, two days after her murder. On July 17, Oline Carmical of Williamsburg was kidnapped in Lexington and left in the trunk of his car, which was found in Dayton, Ohio.
Coleman, who was black, largely preyed on other African Americans, with Mrs. Walters his only white murder victim. Coleman also was convicted of the rape and strangulation murder of Tonnie Storey, 15, of Mohawk, during his stay in the Cincinnati area.
A+B=C Prison officials said Mr. Coleman had a fitful night before the execution. "I don't know if it was from indigestion or nervousness," said Reginald Wilkinson, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Last Words: "The Lord is my shepherd," which he repeated over and over again.
FACTOIDS...Two sisters and a brother, who were supposed to attend final visits with the 46-year-old Illinois native, did not show. It was believed that his family had "transportation problems."
Never too late: He was baptized three days ago. He is a follower of Dallas-based televangelist T.D. Jakes.
In a holding cell 13 steps from the death chamber, Coleman spent his last hours scribbling notes to family and friends, meeting with his spiritual advisers and watching videotapes recorded by an evangelical Christian minister.
Coleman is the only man in U.S. history sentenced to death in three states.
Coleman was Ohio's fourth execution - after a 36- year hiatus in capital punishment - since 1999.
Coleman died from a $43 dose of generic chemicals.
The Excuse/s:...Coleman and his lawyers unsuccessfully pleaded for mercy from the courts and Gov. Bob Taft, contending his violence was the outgrowth of growing up in a brothel where he was abused and brain damage he suffered in the womb from his prostitute mother's alcohol and drug abuse.
Partner in Crime: Ms. Brown was sentenced to death for the Storey murder, but her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in early 1991 by outgoing Gov. Richard Celeste. She remains imprisoned at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville.
TEXAS LAST MEAL
April 11, 2002
LAST MEAL: None
The Skinny...On March 28, 1981, William Kendrick Burns, his brother Victor, and Danny Ray Harris were accused by Texarkana authorities of murdering high school senior Johnny Lynn Hamlett as he worked the late shift in an East Texas creosote plant. Hamlett, 18, was found dead in the plant's boiler room with 14 gunshot wounds to his neck, chest and head. A total of $110 was stolen from Hamlett.
Bowie County authorities soon became suspicious of Burns after receiving a tip that he was involved in the crime. Burns eventually led police to a coffee can lying along a deserted county road. Inside the can was a drivers license, social security card and school identification card belonging to Hamlett. Also found inside the can was a highway patrol citation issued to Burns.
Last words..."I just want to tell my Mom that I am sorry that I caused her so much pain and my family and stuff," William Kendrick Burns said. "I love them and I hurt for the fact that they are going to be hurting. I really hate that and that I am hoping they are going to be OK."
Misc...After being convicted of the crime later that year and sentenced to death, Burns spent the next 21 years avoiding execution through his attorney's skillful maneuvering of the justice system.
OH, NO...At noon Thursday, Burns left his Polunsky Unit death row cell and was transported to the Huntsville "Walls" Unit. He was then placed in a holding cell, steps away from the death chamber.
A short time later, after refusing a last meal, the condemned man was led to the stainless steel gurney and strapped down.
AND ONE MORE THIiiinnngg...After making what was thought to be his final statement, Burns requested one last chance to speak. As he began, however, the lethal drugs took hold and he fell silent.
FACTOIDS....Burns became the eighth offender from the Texas prison system to be executed this year and the second of four offenders scheduled this month.
TEXAS LAST MEAL...APRIL 10,
Jose Santellan Sr.
April 10, 2002
The Menu: 12 pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, 2 rolls with butter, 2 Pepsi, 1 pint of strawberry ice cream, and 1 pint of vanilla ice cream
The skinny or "A + B =s, of course, C: After suffering years of torture at the hands of his parents, a Wise County man decided to exact his own punishment on a loved one by killing his girlfriend, an act that cost him his life Wednesday inside the Huntsville "Walls" death chamber.
The excuse/s:Minutes after Jose Santellan Sr. was declared dead by lethal injection for the Aug. 22, 1993 shooting death of nurse assistant Yolanda Garza in a Fredericksburg hospital parking lot, one of his lawyers spoke out about her client.
"I feel that the system has let Mr. Santellan down," said Marcy Hogan Greer, an Austin-based attorney who, since 1998, has represented Santellan. "When juries are deprived of compelling evidence that Mr. Santellan suffered organic brain damage and years of child abuse, they have no opportunity to show mercy.
The Crime: According to evidence presented by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Santellan, 40, was charged with capital murder for intentionally shooting Garza, 31, to death in the course of an aborted kidnapping attempt.
After emerging from the shadows of a nearby hospital trash bin, Santellan attempted first to speak to his former girlfriend. When his attempts at conversation failed, Santellan pulled out a .25-caliber pistol and shot her four times.
After shooting Garza, Santellan proceeded to load her body and backpack into his car. Fleeing the scene, he drove to the Hill Country Motel in Camp Wood and rented a room.
The killer's "bizarre treatment" of Garza then took another turn. After cleaning the body and pouring perfume over it to conceal the growing stench, he repeatedly engaged in sexual intercourse with the corpse. Afterward, he dressed it in his underwear.
Santellan later admitted that his sexual acts were motivated by a desire to "show how much I really loved her."
Shortly after midnight on Aug. 24, police officers arrived at the motel room and found Santellan alone with the body. Upon his arrest, he readily confessed to the crime.
Last Words: "First of all, I would like to apologize to the Guajardo family even though they are not present," Santellan said as he spoke into a microphone that dangled above his chin. "I loved Yolanda a lot. I hope and pray they can forgive me for all the pain."
MISSOURI LAST MEAL...April 10, 2002
BOVINE LOVER PAUL KREUTZER
April 10, 2002
Last Meal...was grilled ham & cheese sandwich, onion rings, cheesecake and returning to his first love...milk.
The skinny....Paul Kreutzer was the fourth inmate put to death by Missouri this year and the 55th since the state's death penalty was reinstated in 1989.
The crime...Kreutzer was convicted of raping and murdering Louise Ann Hemphill at her northeast Missouri home on September 2., 1992. The autopsy showed that Hemphill's skull had been shattered with a baseball bat, her throat had been cut and she had been strangled with a belt.
The alibi....Kreutzer, 30, had said he could not have killed Hemphill because he was across the Mississippi River committing two burglaries in rural Illinois at the time of the killing. The alibi is a recent change from the 10-year-old defense put forth by his lawyers: that he is guilty but should not be executed because of mental defects caused by a childhood of horrific abuse.
A note to parents...Among abuse the allegations made against his adopted parents: that he was physically abused; that he was forced to drink his own urine after wetting his bed; that he was told to have sexual relations with a cow as punishment for a sexual fixation on his younger sister; and that he was chained to his bed as punishment for having sex with the animal.
Along with his identical twin brother and younger sister, Kreutzer was adopted by Don and Ruth Kreutzer when he was 3.
Maybe, maybe not....
Missouri Division of Family Services records on Kreutzer were excluded from his trial as hearsay. But five of the agency's officials testified that they believed Kreutzer's abuse claims to be true.
His parents have long denied the abuse allegations, but say they believe their son's claim of innocence. Like Kreutzer, they blame earlier guilty pleas on lawyers who liked their chances with the "mental defects" defense better than challenging the facts of the case.
MISSOURI LAST MEAL
February 6, 2002
Last Meal: steak, jumbo shrimp and cheesecake.
The skinny: Owsley was executed for the shotgun killing of a teen-ager.
Last Words and such: "I hope for salvation. I hope that the mercy and forgiveness that I have asked for will suffice. Praise Allah."
Pre-show... In interviews, Owsley insisted the shotgun blast that killed the victim came accidentally while Owsley was "catatonic" on gin and PCP. Owsley's clemency petition cast his court-appointed trial attorney as a bumbler. "This case needs to be reviewed because Missouri's death-row situation is a situation that has been used repeatedly on people like me -- poor, black and unable to defend ourselves," Owsley said before his execution. "I'm nothing to Missouri, I'm nothing to the United States -- instead of a poor Negro they could do anything to. As they see it, I'm still chattel property." In the clemency petition Owsley also faulted his troubled upbringing dating to even before he was born, claiming that his then-alcoholic mother's repeated "home remedies" meant to abort him during pregnancy included hours over a bucket filled with turpentine and hot water.
Factoids: Owsley was Missouri's 55th since the state resumed capital punishment in 1989.
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