Monday, May 31, 2004

this is an audio post - click to play

The final meal request of James Neil Tucker.

May 28, 2004

...the ole "I only shot her a second time to put her out of her misery" story...

Last Meal: The condemned man ordered pizza, Mountain Dew and two bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

The skinny: Tucker, the first inmate to die in the South Carolina electric chair in nearly 10 years, was executed for two murders committed during a brutal two-week crime spree in mid-1992.

The total amount of cash Tucker stole from the two murdered women--$34.

Tucker testified he shot the first victim when she tried to grab the gun. As he was leaving, he shot her again to "put her out of her misery."

Priors: Friday's execution ended a life of crime for Tucker. He was sent to an adult prison at 17 for raping an 8-year-old girl and an 83-year-old woman in Utah.

He escaped three times from prison while serving that sentence from 1974 to 1991. Last month, Tucker tried to escape from death row by threatening a guard with a safety razor blade melted into a toothbrush. He was recaptured minutes later.

Last words and such: Although a curtain blocked any view during the preparation period inside the electrocution chamber, the sound of a baritone voice singing a hymn could be heard coming from behind the curtain.

Associate Pastor Eddie Morris afterward said the song explained that the hymn was "Through It All," a melody stressing that God will be with the sinner during their darkest hour.

At exactly 6 p.m., that curtain opened to reveal Tucker wearing a bright green prison jumpsuit, strapped in the electric chair with two-inch wide leather belts.

Tucker's attorney, Teresa Norris of Columbia, read his final statement.

"To everyone, I have thought of a million things to say, but they can all be summed up like this. To those I have harmed, my abject apologies and regrets. I am ashamed.

"To those who must remain and deal with this insane world, my condolences. But be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world! I know that my redeemer lives. I am leaving this world with a cheerful attitude. Hallelujah."

The inmate's mouth was then covered with a leather mask. Moments later, a leather hood was placed over his head.

Factoids: South Carolina allows inmates to choose lethal injection, but Tucker's lawyer said he felt if he made a choice about how he should die, he would be condoning his own death.

Tucker is the 247th inmate to die in South Carolina's electric chair, which was built in 1912. But he is only the second to be electrocuted since the state first offered lethal injection in 1995.

Tucker was the...

27th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
912th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in South Carolina in 2004
32nd murderer executed in South Carolina since 1976

Sunday, May 30, 2004

MAY 26, 2004

...wishes can come true...

Last meal: Blackwelder had a pizza with cheese, onions, green peppers, ground beef and mushrooms; a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, cheese and ranch dressing with a coke.

Mr. Blackwelder then received a 24-hour stay from the governor.

The stay was lifted and he was not granted a second last meal.

He dined on regular prison fare of sloppy joes, french fries and corn.

The skinny: Raymond D. Wigley and Blackwelder were both inmates at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Florida. Wigley was serving a life sentence for First Degree Murder. Blackwelder was serving a life sentence following a 1998 conviction for Child Molesting of a 10 year old. He had been convicted in 1975 and served time for Sexual Battery.

Wigley went to Blackwelder's cell and asked for sex. Prior to the proposition, Blackwelder had hidden several pieces of cord around his bunk so he could restrain Wigley when the opportunity arose. Blackwelder consented to the proposition for sex and tied up Wigley after he had disrobed. Wigley allowed Blackwelder to bind his hands and feet to the bed and to tie a towel around his mouth. Blackwelder positioned himself on top of Wigley's back and strangled him with a piece of the cord that he had hidden near his bunk.

Blackwelder was also convicted in 1991 on federal charges of threatening then Vice President Dan Quayle. He had called the Secret Service, Miami television stations and the TV series "America's Most Wanted," saying he would "eliminate" Quayle and "put him on slab" unless he received $10 million.

Blackwelder said in a media interview he manipulated the state, killing Wigley to ensure he would get the death penalty because he couldn't stand the idea of spending his life in prison without parole, but couldn't commit suicide.

Last words and such: "I'm glad I get to go home," he said in his last statement, after being strapped to his death gurney. "I'm proud to be a Christian, and I thank Jesus for saving me and allowing me to go home. Amen."

Florida Factoids: The first 44 executions in Florida were carried out in the state's electric chair.

Six of the last 10 executions in Florida were inmates who dropped their appeals to speed up their deaths.

The executioner received $150 for his services.

Blackwelder was the....

26th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
911th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Florida in 2004
59th murderer executed in Florida since 1976