Saturday, October 01, 2005

September 28, 2005

...prison officials do not want inmates to consume too much the day of the execution ...

Last Meal: For his special meal he had chicken wings, a fried chicken dinner, large wedges of potatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits and a chocolate shake. The special dinner is prepared at a local restaurant. It is not called the last meal since it is served a day or two ahead of time. That's because prison officials do not want inmates to consume too much the day of the execution, much like a doctor asks patients not to eat before surgery.

The skinny: Matheney, 54, one of the most notorious killers on Indiana's Death Row, was executed by lethal injection for beating murder his ex-wife with a rifle butt while on an eight-hour furlough from the Correctional Industrial Facility. Matheney burst into the victim's home, caught her as she tried to run away and struck her in the head with a rifle so hard the weapon broke.

More skinny: Matheny was convicted and sent to prison in 1987 for Battery and Confinement of his ex-wife,. While in prison, Matheny had repeatedly expressed a desire to kill her, and attempted to solicit others to do so. After serving almost 2 years, he was given an 8-hour furlogh from Pendleton, where he was an inmate. Although the pass authorized a trip to Indianapolis, Matheny headed straight for St. Joseph County. Once there, he changed clothes and took a shotgun from a friend's house, then drove to Mishawaka. He parked the car in a lot two doors down from his ex-wife's house, then broke in through the back door. Bianco ran from the home, pursued by Matheny through the neighborhood. When he caught her, he beat her with the shotgun that broke into pieces. He then got into his car and drove away. The woman died as a result of this blunt force trauma.

One neighbor confronted Matheney and saw him get into a car and drive away. Matheney surrendered to a policeman later that afternoon.

This case generated massive amounts of publicity and led to state legislation requiring the Indiana DOC to notify victims of release from prison

The state also agreed to pay $900,000 to the woman's estate and the couple's children, who were home at the time of the attack.

Last words and such: "I love my family and my children. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused them. I thank my friends who stood by me . . . I'm sure my grandchildren will grow up happy and healthy in the care of their wonderful parents," Matheney said in a final statement read by his lawyer, Steven Schutte

Factoids: Matheney was the...

41st murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
985th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
5th murderer executed in Indiana in 2005
16th murderer executed in Indiana since 1976

Minutes before the execution took place, seven people stood outside the governor's residence with signs protesting the execution. "I call it the murder penalty," said Jennifer Cobb, 47. "I believe the state taking a life because that person took a life makes the state a hypocrite."

Last month, the governor spared the life of Arthur P. Baird II, who was diagnosed as severely mentally ill. In his order, Daniels noted Baird’s claim that he was mentally ill but emphasized that life without parole was not an option at the time of Baird’s sentencing and all jurors whose views were known had indicated they would have chosen that alternative if it was available. Daniels commuted the sentence to life without parole.

It was Indiana's fifth execution this year, the most since 1938 when the state put eight people to death.