Thursday, April 01, 2004

March 31, 2004

...a suggestion for the young people...never, ever become a convenience store clerk...

Last Meal: Orbe requested a last meal of fried chicken breasts, French fries, green beans, and a plain chocolate brownie.

The skinny: Dennis M. Orbe was executed for fatally shooting a convenience store clerk during a robbery.

Orbe murdered during a 10-day crime rampage between that also included assaults, shootings, break-ins and thefts in three counties. He was captured after a high-speed chase ended in a crash.

More skinny: A surveillance camera at the store showed that Orbe walked in about 3:38 a.m., went to the counter and pointed a gun at the victim. After the man opened the cash register, Orbe shot him in the chest. Orbe then went around the counter and grabbed money from the cash register. Orbe expressed remorse for the killing and said the shooting was unintentional.

A psychologist who examined Orbe said he had a drinking problem and an "impulse control dysfunction," court records show.

Legal machinations: In final appeals and a petition for a reprieve filed with Gov. Mark R. Warner Orbe's attorneys unsuccessfully argued that Virginia's method of lethal injection should be declared unconstitutional. They contended that the method Virginia uses to carry out executions could cause unnecessary pain because the first chemical, a fast-acting sedative, could wear off before two other chemicals are administered. Orbe's legal team did not ask Warner to grant him clemency but asked only to delay the execution until the state changes its procedure for administering lethal injections. They stressed that the American Veterinary Medical Association finds similar methods unacceptable for animal euthanasia.

Last words and such: Orbe declined to make a final statement. Orbe was accompanied into the death chamber by his spiritual adviser, a Catholic nun who placed a small wooden cross holding a green plastic Jesus to Orbe's lips before she joined witnesses in the witness booth.

Factoids: Death row inmates in Virginia are asked to choose between lethal injection and the electric chair at least 15 days before their execution date. If they decline to choose, as Orbe did, the state chooses lethal injection.

Orbe was the...
22nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
907th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Virginia in 2004
91st murderer executed in Virginia since 1976