Thursday, December 01, 2005

November 29, 2005


Last Meal: Hicks had a last meal request of two steaks, a baked potato, salad, bread, apple pie, a soft drink and potato chips.

The skinny: Hicks, 49, was executed for killing his mother-in-law and 5-year-old stepdaughter after a cocaine binge 20 years ago.

More skinny: The Los Angeles Dodgers were playing the Cincinnati Reds the night John Hicks told his wife he was going to a ballgame while she worked the night shift at a downtown bank. Instead, Hicks spent the last of his money getting high on cocaine and, before the night was over, strangled his wife's mother and suffocated his wife's 5-year-old daughter.

Hicks was a cocaine and alcohol addict. He took the VCR from his own home, pawned it, and purchased cocaine. When he realized his wife would become angry when she found out what he had done, he decided to rob his mother in law. He telephoned her to say he was coming around. When he arrived around 11pm he put his stepdaughter to bed. He then approached the victim from behind and strangled her with his own hands. To make sure she was really dead he used a length of clothesline. He searched her bedroom and stole $300 and some credit cards.

After buying more cocaine, he realized his stepdaughter would place him at the scene of the crime and could be a potential witness. He returned and smothered her with a pillow. When this failed to kill his stepdaughter, he tried to use his own hands, and then duct taped her mouth and nose. He attempted to dismember the mother-in-law in the bathtub, but gave up after nearly cutting one of her legs off.

Two days later he was arrested in Knoxville, Tennessee, confessing to the crimes.

Leading up to: On his last night alive, Hicks spoke to his mother, brother and a friend by phone. A death row minister, Rev. Gary Sims, counseled him. In his final days and hours, Hicks remained calm and compliant, reading the Bible, listening to the radio and talking with Sims.

Last words and such: Hicks walked 17 steps into the death chamber where he was strapped to a bed that was bolted to the floor. He asked for his glasses, which the warden placed on his face. He looked to the left into the witness chamber searching for recognizable faces.

He then spoke his last words: "I know it's been 20 years of pain and hurt, but during those 20 years I suffered, too. I cared and I loved, too, for Maxine and Brandy. It began with a syringe in my arm and this day is ending with a needle in my arm. It's come full circle." He thanked his attorneys and singled out four death row inmates to "hang in there and stay strong. Take care, 'cause I'm coming home.Lord, hallelujah.Yes, thank you."

Factoids: Hicks was the...

55th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
999th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in Ohio in 2005
19th murderer executed in Ohio since 1976

Hicks asked for clemency but Gov. Bob Taft said he had offered no reason to justify it.

Seven Ohio inmates were executed last year, second-highest in the nation after Texas.