Tuesday, November 09, 2004

November 4, 2004

...the jury took 13 minutes to decide he should be put to death....

Last Meal: Morrow had a final meal request of ten pieces of crispy fried chicken (leg quarters), two double meat, double cheese burgers with sliced onions, pickles, tomatoes, mayo, ketchup, salt, pepper and lettuce, one small chef salad with chopped ham and thousand island dressing, one large order of french fries cooked with onions, five big buttermilk biscuits with butter, four jalapeno peppers, two sprites, two cokes, one pint of rocky road ice cream, one bowl of peach cobbler or apple pie.

The skinny: Morrow was executed for the fatal beating and slashing of a 21-year-old college student who was abducted while home in Texas on spring break.

More skinny: The victim, who months before her death had overcome a battle with thyroid cancer, was home from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where she was working toward a degree in hotel management. She was taken from a car wash near her home and her body was found the next day in the Trinity River. Authorities determined she had suffered 42 injuries.

A witness told authorities he saw a man fitting Morrow's description lying on top of the girl in the passenger side of a car at the car wash. She didn't appear to be struggling and he dismissed the activity as nothing more than boyfriend and girlfriend, then saw them drive away in the direction of the river.

The car later was found abandoned. Morrow, who had previous convictions for burglary, weapons possession and larceny in South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas, was arrested nearly four months later walking near a crack house in Houston. A computer check revealed he was wanted for the slaying.

At his trial and in interviews with reporters, the 10th-grade dropout gave multiple stories about his case, including acknowledging involvement in her death, claiming a relationship with her and blaming someone else. Prosecutors called the girl a victim of a random crime and disputed some of Morrow's comments. "I caught him in several lies," said Mike Little, the Liberty County district attorney who prosecuted Morrow. "I think the jury saw through what he was saying very quickly."

After a 10-week trial, the jury took 13 minutes to decide he should be put to death.

Leading up to..."I wish it didn't happen, but I can't change it," Morrow said recently from death row. "When you do drugs, there's no telling what can happen. I did that night and it got out of hand."

Last words and such: Morrow addressed the parents of his victim by name and told them, "I would like to tell you that I am responsible, and I am sorry for what I did and the pain I caused." He expressed love to his friends and said he had been blessed that they stood by him. Morrow urged them to stay strong. "Set me free, warden. Father, accept me." As he waited for the lethal drugs to take effect, he turned again, looking through a window at his victim's relatives and added, "I do hope my death brings you all some closure." Then he blurted out, "I feel it" and gasped slightly three times.

The execution was delayed briefly as prison officials had difficulty finding suitable veins in the former drug user's arms. Instead they selected veins at the top of each hand for the needles.

No last-day appeals were filed to try to block the punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court two weeks ago refused to review his case.

Factoids: Morrow was the....

55th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
940th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
20th murderer executed in Texas in 2004
333rd murderer executed in Texas since 1976