Sunday, December 12, 2004


Pennsylvania death row inmates are executed at Rockview State Prison in Bellefonte, where the Department of Corrections maintains its two-story execution complex in a former field hospital.

_ Condemned prisoners may select a final meal from a prison-supplied checklist.

_ An unidentified team of medically qualified individuals injects the fatal cocktail containing a paralytic agent and a fast-acting barbiturate.

_ Twelve witnesses, including as many as six news reporters, observe the moment of death. Spots are reserved for The Associated Press and Radio Pennsylvania. The other six press spots are chosen at random, with at least one witness from a radio or television station that broadcasts in the county where the crime occurred and at least one from a newspaper that circulates there.

_ Afterward, prison officials release any last words the inmate has dictated to prison staff.

_ Pennsylvania has executed three people since reinstating the death penalty in 1978. All three were "volunteers" who had given up their appeals: Gary Heidnik in 1999 and Leon Moser and Keith Zettlemoyer in 1995.