Sunday, August 15, 2004

August 12, 2004

..."I killed a gal in Reno, just to watch her die"...

Last Meal: Two cheeseburgers and a Coke

The skinny: Terry Dennis, 57, was put to death by lethal injection for the 1999 murder of a woman in Reno.

In March 1999, Terry Dennis met a 51 year old Russian immigrant, who assisted him in a drinking bout for several days in a Reno hotel. According to statements given by Dennis later to police, three weeks before, Dennis had fantasies of killing a woman. Then, during their drinking binge, the victim had questioned whether Dennis was able to kill anybody during his service in the Air Force in Vietnam and made fun of him for being unable to perform sexually. Dennis put a belt around her neck and started tightening it, strangling her while they were having sex.

He continued drinking vodka for several more days before calling police and reporting that he had a dead body in his room.

Dennis pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and a three-judge panel ruled that his punishment should be death.

Dennis waived appeals and volunteered for execution.

The last day...Dennis visited with his brother for two hours Thursday morning. Dennis told him that he was sorry he "screwed up his life" - but wasn't remorseful about the murder.

Later, he declined to take a phone call from his second wife. He stayed in the "last night" cell across from the execution chamber, not posting any mail or making any phone calls. Dennis was offered and took a Valium at 4 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.

Last words and such: Dennis offered no final words and died quietly.

Dennis, who had chosen not to pursue appeals, could have stopped the execution at any point, but chose not to do so.

Factoids: Ten of the last 11 executions in Nevada have come when inmates have given up their appeals. Dennis told court officials at one hearing: "Death is preferable to another 15 to 20 years in prison."

There are 83 men and one woman on Nevada's death row, the longest being Edward Wilson who was sentenced in 1979 for the murder of a Reno police undercover agent.

Dennis was the....

38th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
923rd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Nevada in 2004
11th murderer executed in Nevada since 1976