Thursday, June 19, 2003

June 18, 2003

two changes...slim and none and no one knows Slim.

Last Meal: a cheeseburger with tomato, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, and pickle; french fries with ketchup; apple pie, and Pepsi.

The skinny: Martin was executed for the robbery killing of a 70-year-old Cleveland pharmacist. Martin said a man he knew only as Slim committed the crime. He said he walked to the store to see what happened after the robbery occurred. Slim was never identified. A former girlfriend testified at trial that Slim had nothing to do with the killing. The robbery netted less than $40.

Martin, a high-school dropout with a short criminal record, was arrested days later at his apartment a block away. Investigators found no gun, nor other physical evidence linking Martin to the crime, the public defender's office said. Martin was convicted largely on the testimony of the girlfriend, who was never charged.

Last days: Martin spent most of Wednesday morning on the phone with his mother and visiting with other relatives at the prison, including a son he hasn’t seen for 20 years. He slept for about an hour.

He had dropped the retardation claim after a psychologist hired by his attorneys determined he was not mentally retarded.

Last words and such: In a written statement released after his death, and during a three-minute speech while strapped to the death table, Martin compared his situation to the trials of Jesus. "I'm being treated the same way Christ was treated," he said from the table. "But I don't hold no grudges against no one."

"Just the same, the state of Ohio has succeeded in its quest for my life by way of perjured testimony and false witnesses who were paid to tell the lies they did," the written statement said.

Martin told his family he loved them and appreciated the life he had with them, "even though it wasn't a good life."

His last words were, "God bless all of you. That's all I have to say."

Factoids: Martin was the eighth inmate to be executed since Ohio began carrying out the death penalty again in 1999. Three more executions are scheduled in the next five weeks.

The injection consists of sodium pentothal, which induces unconsciousness; pavulon, a muscle relaxant that stops breathing; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

For the first time since 1999, no execution witnesses represented the victim.

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

June 13, 2003

Last Meal: Trueblood refused a special last meal. "This is the way I'm protesting what the state is getting ready to do." However, he was given the same dinner as other inmates: a bologna sandwich, a cheese sandwich, cookies and fruit.

The Skinny: Trueblood was executed for killing a woman and her two children (ages 2 and 1) and buried their bodies in shallow graves. Trueblood pleaded guilty to the 1988 shooting deaths. In later appeals, Trueblood maintained that the victim, who was suicidal, shot her children before shooting herself. Trueblood said he then fired the final shot out of compassion.

Legal Machinations: Gov. Frank O'Bannon denied Trueblood's clemency petition. Trueblood had asked that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison.

Lless than 10 hours before he was scheduled to be executed, the Indiana Supreme Court again refused to spare him.

Last Day: Among those he met with on his last day was a 25 year-old University of Notre Dame graduate who got to know Trueblood through a priest while she attended college.

The student said she and Trueblood ate candy, soft drinks and chips from a vending machine and prayed together.

Beverly Miller, 56, who also visits Death Row inmates, has known Trueblood for 12 years. She said Thursday that "he believes he will be in heaven with (the vicitm) and (the) children."

Final Statement: Trueblood reiterated his innocence, asserting that his attorneys had told him that pleading guilty was the best way to avoid the death penalty.

"That's the only reason I pleaded guilty," he said, in a statement given through his attorney. "If I had been given a lie detector test, it would have proven I was telling the truth."

Post-execution: Trueblood battled the Department of Correction to prevent an autopsy.

A LaPorte County judge on Thursday granted a restraining order preventing the department from conducting an autopsy.

"I don't want my body desecrated in any way," Trueblood said. "Once they murder me, they no longer have any authority over me."

Factoids: Trueblood was the 11th person put to death by the state since it resumed executions in 1981 after 20 years without any.

His was the 858th execution since the United States resumed capital punishment in 1976, the 38th so far this year and the second in Indiana in six weeks.

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

June 11, 2003

A very candid camera...

Last Meal: Johnson was served his last meal, a fried feast. He requested four chicken breasts, shrimp and catfish — all fried — accompanied by french fries, onion rings, a double cheeseburger with grilled onions and a glass of strawberry juice, followed by pecan pie.

The skinny: Johnson was executed for gunning down a convenience store manager during a robbery that netted $23. The killing was captured by a surveillance camera in the store. Despite the videotape. Johnson maintained his innocence.

``I told them that they had the wrong person and that I did not kill anybody,'' Johnson said on a Web site devoted to his case.

Priors: Johnson, a high school graduate who worked as a cook, had a juvenile record that included seven arrests. As an adult, he was arrested four more times and was convicted of burglary twice.

Prosecution: "In the 12 years that I've been here in Bexar County, I've only had two capital murders captured on video tape," says prosecutor Michael Cohen.

The surveillance video would be Kia Johnson's undoing. Several news stations ran the tape, tipsters called in, and 18 hours after the murder Kia Johnson was found with crack.

Legal Machinations: Johnson's lawyers contended he was mentally retarded. But lower courts rejected his appeals, and late Wednesday afternoon the U.S. Supreme Court, which has barred execution of the mentally retarded, refused to delay the execution.

Last Words and such: Johnson directed his final words to his brother, watching through a window a few feet away. He never looked through another window, where victim's family sat. ``Tell mama I love her,'' Johnson said. ``Tell the kids I love them too. See y'all.''

Factoids: Johnson was the 16th inmate executed in Texas this year. He's the first of 10 set to die over the next two months.

The drugs used to execute condemned killer Kia Levoy Johnson of San Antonio yesterday cost $86.

That's almost four times more than the $23 he got after gunning down the night manager.