Thursday, September 26, 2002


On Wednesday, Ohio executed one Robert Buell. His last meal of a single black, unpitted olive. Prison officials researched, but failed to find, any significance in the request.

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.

Calvin King
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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

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.

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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Dateline: Japan

2 convicted murderers executed

Two convicted murderers were executed Wednesday morning at detention houses in Nagoya and Fukuoka, the Justice Ministry announced.

They are the second pair of death-row inmates to be executed since Mayumi Moriyama was appointed justice minister in the Koizumi Cabinet.

Two death-row convicts also were executed in December.

The convicts were Tatsuya Haruta, 36, who was convicted of the 1987 kidnapping and murder of a college student in Kumamoto Prefecture, and Yoshiteru Hamada, who murdered three members of his girlfriend's family in Gifu Prefecture.

In September 1987, Haruta tempted a 21-year-old college student and his girlfriend to a deserted area used as a dump for construction materials in Tamana, Kumamoto Prefecture.

He then beat the student to death using an empty bottle and a concrete block.

Haruta demanded 50 million yen in ransom from the boy's father and kept the girl confined in a series of hotels for 12 days.

Hamada, who was having problems with his girlfriend, broke into her parents' house in Sakahogicho, Gifu Prefecture, in June 1994.

He took her 61-year-old father, 59-year-old mother and 31-year-old younger sister hostage and later stabbed them to death with a kitchen knife.

Forty-three people have been hanged in the nation since 1993.

Rex Mays
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.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Dateline: China

The questions is...what do the rats eat?

Chinese man executed for poisoning classmates

Beijing — A former high-school student who was found guilty of killing two classmates with rat poison has been executed in eastern China, a court official said Monday.

Li Feng, 20, was convicted on murder charges and sentenced to death for putting the poison in breakfast porridge at his school in the city of Jinan in January 2001, said Meng Jianguo, an official at the Jinan Intermediate-Level People's Court.

The defendant poisoned his classmates to avenge a grudge after having been punished for cheating on a test and becoming angry at a schoolmate who allegedly wrote love letters to his girlfriend, Mr. Jianguo said.

Another seven students were hospitalized but survived the poisoning attack, he added.

Poisoning attacks spurred by grudges and business disputes are reported often in China.

Mr. Feng used an illegal but widely available type of rat poison, Mr. Jianguo said. The same poison was also used by a man who police say admitted to killing 38 people earlier this month in the eastern city of Nanjing by spiking food from a snack shop.

Police say a businessman jealous of the success of the rival snack shop was behind the Sept. 14 attack, which the government says led to the hospitalization of some 200 people, many of them schoolchildren.

In July, the owner of a noodle shop was arrested in southern China on charges of putting rat poison in the food of a competing restaurant, according to state media. Dozens of people were sickened, but no deaths were reported.