Friday, August 01, 2003

July 29, 2003

...chicken livers?...

Last Meal: For his last meal, McElmurry requested Canadian bacon pizza, a pint of chicken livers, cottage cheese and one raw white onion.

The Skinny: McElmurry was executed for fatally stabbing and bludgeoning an elderly couple in 1999.

McElmurry told police he stabbed the couple with scissors, then beat them with a hoe.

McElmurry's wife also was convicted in the deaths of the 80-year-old paraplegic and his 75-year-old wife at their rural home. She is serving two life sentences.

The McElmurrys were caught in Texas near the Mexican border in the victim's car. They also had stolen two pistols and $70.

Escape! McElmurry slithered between the jail bars and escaped before he was scheduled to go on trial in 2000 for the fatally stabbing. He was captured the next day.

No Legal Machinations: McElmurry didn't file an appeal after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his conviction and death sentence last year. He waived an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last words and such: McElmurry asked for forgiveness just before he was executed and received it from the grandson of the couple he murdered.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry to the Pendleys. I hope they can forgive me."

The victim's grandson said he was willing to grant McElmurry's request for forgiveness.

"I think he was sincere," said the grandson, who witnessed the execution.

Factoids: McElmurry was the...

50th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
870th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
14th murderer executed in Oklahoma in 2003
69th murderer executed in Oklahoma since 1976

The fifth person put to death this month in Oklahoma.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

July 24, 2003

Last Meal: Janecka had a final meal of chicken fried steak, gravy, french fries, ketchup, salad, blue cheese dressing, iced tea with lemon, two sodas, rolls, and butter.

The Skinny: Allen Wayne Janecka was executed for the murder of a 14-month-old boy in an inheritance scheme that shocked Houston and fooled medical examiners. On July 6, 1979, a neighbor discovered the bodies of the husband and wife in their home, along with their 14-month-old son. Each had been shot in the head. The boy was shot while surrounded by stuffed animals in his crib. Although the police did not find a weapon on the premises, the medical examiner initially ruled that wife had killed her husband and son, then committed suicide. The Houston Police Department continued to investigate the case for the next year-and-a-half, focusing on woman's brother, who stood to gain a substantial inheritance upon the family's death. During the investigation, uncovered evidence showing that the woman's brother hired Walt Waldhauser to murder the family, and that Waldhauser in turn hired Janecka to commit the murders. Janecka later confessed to the murders when questioned by police, and also television interviewers.

Final words and such: Janecka thanked his family and spiritual advisors in his final statement.

"For many years I have done things my way, which has caused a lot of pain to me, my family and many others. Today I have realized that for peace and happiness, one has to do things God's way," he said. "I want to thank my family for their support. I love you. I am taking you with me. ... I also want to say thanks to the chaplains who I have met through the years and who have brought me a long way."

Factoids: Janecka was the...
49th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
869th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
20th murderer executed in Texas in 2003
309th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Janecka spent 22 years on death row.

He was the second inmate executed in connection with the slayings of the toddler and his parents.

Markham Duff-Smith, the woman's brother, was executed in 1993, moments after admitting for the first time to a role in those killings and the 1975 slaying of his mother..

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.

July 24, 2003

..."It ruined my whole day." ...

Last Meal: For his last meal, Willingham ate fettuccine alfredo, a small deep-dish pepperoni pizza, breadsticks and two peppermint patties.

The skinny: Willingham was executed for fatally beating a 62-year-old Lawton woman he said was rude to him. Willingham was selling perfume door to door in Lawton, Oklahoma. Working his way through a downtown building, he came to the office occupied by the victimWey. Although she told him she did not wish to purchase any perfume, he continued to press her, adhering to his standard sales procedure of insisting on three "no" answers from a potential customer. The repeated rejections that ensued led to an what Willingham claims was a rude rebuff. After calling on some other offices in the building, Willingham noticed the victim enter a restroom off the hallway near her office. Still angry over their earlier confrontation, he eventually followed her into the restroom, pulled her from a stall, and struck her several times in the face. As she continued to struggle with him, he slammed her head into the wall and kicked her in the face with his boot. The victim lost consciousness and died asphyxiating on the blood from her injuries. Police found a sales brochure left at one of the other offices, and eventually questioned Willingham, who at first denied any involvement then confessed.

Trail stuff: During his trial, Willingham said he had not meant to kill the victim, only to hurt her . He testified that while he was in her office trying to sell perfume, she asked him to leave, called him names and slammed the door on him.

"I was angry. I was upset," Willingham testified during the 1995 trial. "I was frustrated and upset with her for being rude to me.

"I just couldn't get in the mood to sell anymore. It ruined my whole day."

Last words and such: "I want to apologize to the (victim's) family. I'm so sorry for the pain I've caused you," Willingham said before his execution. "I hope by my death you find some closure and one day forgive me. For my family, I'm so sorry for this. I love you."

Willingham then looked up and said, "OK, I'm ready."

Factoids: Willingham is the....
48th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
868th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
13th murderer executed in Oklahoma in 2003
68th murderer executed in Oklahoma since 1976

The state pardon and parole board last month recommended clemency for Willingham, but the recommendation was rejected by Governor Henry.

Three death penalty protesters were arrested at the state Capitol after a rally in opposition of Willingham's execution.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers assigned to Henry's security detail took the demonstrators into custody as they walked down a hall toward Henry's office.

They face misdemeanor charges of disrupting a state office or business.

Gov. Brad Henry has not granted any clemencies since he took office in January.

This summary was compiled using various news accounts and also from Jason Whitehorn KSWO-ABC (Lawton, OK).

July 23, 2003

selling guns out of the trunk...

Last Meal: Ransom did not request a last meal.

The Skinny: Ransom, who attacked one of his own attorneys and a prosecutor during his capital murder trial was executed for robbing and fatally shooting a gun dealer, one of four slayings authorities linked him to during a 17-day period in 1991. (Spree!)

More skinny: Ransom, along with three others, went to the home of, an optometrist, was also a licensed gun dealer and sold guns out of his car trunk. When the victim opened up the trunk of his car, one the guys grabbed two firearms from inside. At the same time, Ransom grabbed the victim by the back of the head, hit him, leaned him over the trunk of the car, shot him one time.

Pre-trial excitement: At the conclusion of jury selection, Ransom used a smuggled 5 1/2-inch piece of broken glass hidden in his hand to try to stab one of his attorneys in the back. Ignoring orders from a bailiff to back off, Ransom turned his attention to a nearby prosecutor.

Neither was seriously hurt in the November 1992 attack, but both were removed from the case.

Prosecutor quote: Besides the Dec. 7, 1991, slaying of a optometrist and part-time gun dealer prosector Bland said, Ransom was involved in three fatal robberies of convenience stores. "Most people go to an ATM to get cash," Bland said. "He'd go to convenience stores and not leave any witnesses."

Final words and such: In a brief final statement, Cedric Ransom thanked a friend and a spiritual adviser who were present.

"You have been beautiful to me. Without you in my life, I would not have been able to make it like this. Probably I would have put up a good fight. You have calmed me."

Ransom told them he loved them. As the lethal drugs began taking effect, he told them, "I'll be OK."

Factoids: Ransom was the.....
47th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
867th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
19th murderer executed in Texas in 2003
308th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

In 1997, he made an unsuccessful escape attempt from death row. Ransom and fellow death row inmate cut through a fence at the Ellis I Unit with a hacksaw blade, climbed onto the roof and made a run for the two perimeter fences. The attempt was foiled when a guard spotted the inmates and ordered them to stop. Both did.

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.