Saturday, November 15, 2003

November 14, 2003 electrical cord, a hammer, a kerosne heater, a rock and a knife...the game of Clue--North Carolina-style...

Last Meal: Daniels had a ribeye steak, a baked potato with sour cream and butter, a roll, hush puppies, a Coke and pecan pie.

The skinny: Daniels was executed for fatally choking his 77-year-old aunt in her house with an ironing cord.

Daniels had been having marital problems and was behind on his rent when he went to the home of his aunt to ask for money and requesting that she allow his wife live with her. She refused. Daniels then hit her in the face and choked her to death with an electrical cord. He took $70 to $80 and went back to his house. After smoking crack cocaine in the bathroom, Daniels seriously assaulted his wife and son with a hammer, a kerosene heater and a rock., threatened his neighbor with a knife, and then set fire to his house. Firefighters arrived to put out the fire, taking Daniels from inside.

On the drive to the station, Daniels redirected police to the home of his aunt where her strangled and beaten body was discovered. At the station, Daniels gave a complete confession, then promptly attempted to hang himself in the interrogation room with the drawstring of his pants.

Daniels had consumed a bottle of wine and at least two beers before killing his aunt.

In a statement to police following his arrest, Daniels couldn't come up with an answer as to why he killed his aunt and attack his wife. "I don't know why I killed her," Daniels reportedly said. "Bills set me off. My lady has some bills. I tried to kill my lady."

Legal Machinations: Daniels' lawyers had asked Easley at a clemency hearing Wednesday to consider the statement of retired psychiatrist Cynthia White of Las Vegas. During the penalty phase of his trial, White testified that Daniels wasn't influenced by alcohol or cocaine he had consumed and showed no remorse.

White said she didn't know at the time that Daniels tried to burn his house to kill himself after killing his aunt. She also said she didn't know the amount of cocaine and alcohol he ingested. White also told the governor that prosecutors didn't give her Daniels' complete medical record and left out information about suicide attempts, brain damage and his history of depression. She also said she never interviewed Daniels, who had signed a confession.

The psychiatrist issue was raised in Daniels' earliest appeal after his conviction and courts rejected it, ruling that an expert witness isn't required to interview a defendant.

Last words and such: ''I just tell my mom, Maurice and Diane and the rest of the family and the other family, I'm sorry. I love them,'' Daniels said before he was wheeled on a gurney into the brightly lit execution chamber, where executioners were unseen behind a beige curtain.

Factoids: Gov. Easley met with a granddaughter of the victim, asking to spare Daniels. Eight of nine grandchildren wanted Easley to grant clemency, and the ninth agreed with his cousins that the grandmother would not have wanted the execution to occur.

Daniels became the sixth convicted killer put to death in the state in 2003, the highest number since executions resumed in the state in 1984.

Outside the prison, about 30 death penalty protesters held a candlelight vigil in the windy, cold weather.

Daniels was the....

61st murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
881st murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
6th murderer executed in North Carolina in 2003
29th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976