ARKANSAS LAST MEAL
RILEY DOBI NOEL
July 9, 2003
Last Meal: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, hot rolls, a green garden salad with ranch dressing, Kool-Aid and cookies.
The Skinny: Noel was executed for killing three children in the mistaken belief that their sister set up his brother, Cornelius “Skeeter” Ganaway, for a gang hit .
Noel and three others, Terry Carroll, Curtis Lee Cochran, and Tracy Trinette Calloway were riding around Little Rock "getting high." They went to the home of a woman, whose daughter Noel suspected of being involved in the drive-by killing of his brother.
Calloway got out of the car and followed Noel and Carroll into the house. Noel told the three children: ages 17, 12 and 10, in the residence to get down on the floor. Calloway testified she watched as Noel shot each of the children in the head and killed them. A co-defendant tried to shoot the intended victim's mother with a shotgun but it jammed, and she was able to wrestle it away. Noel testified at the trial against his lawyers' advice and denied killing the children.
One of Noel's accomplices received a 20 year prison sentence after he testified on behalf of the state. Another was sentenced to life in prison without parole and the third got 132 years in prison for the three killings.
Legal Machinations: In his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Noel's attorney argued that medical tests that were not available when he was convicted in 1996 would reveal a brain abnormality that might have been viewed as a mitigating circumstance by the jurors who recommended the death penalty.
Final words and such: Before he was executed, Noel gave a final statement. "I want my family to know I love them," Noel said. "I want my kids to know I love Jesus."
Factoids: Noel became the 25th individual executed in Arkansas since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1990.
This summary was compiled from various news accounts.