Saturday, November 26, 2005

November 11, 2005

Last Meal: McHone has a final meal request for a medium-rare Porterhouse steak, steak fries, chocolate cheesecake and a 20-ounce Mountain Dew.

The skinny: McHone was executed for the shooting deaths of his mother and stepfather.

More skinny:
After a family fishing trip, the two victims and other relatives returned to the couple's home. Their son, McHone, who was 19 at the time, was there and started arguing with his mother about money. McHone had been living at home while on probation for some larceny convictions. The mother told the others a handgun was missing, and three gunshots were heard a short time later coming from the back yard. McHone had shot the woman in the back of the head and left her face down and injured in the back yard. McHone then found a shotgun and shot his stepfather inside the house. The shootings ended when Wesley Adams Jr., took away the gun and held McHone down until police arrived.

Witnesses testified that McHone drank 1 1/2 bottles of Jack Daniels whiskey and a pitcher of beer and might have taken drugs before the killings.

Leading up to: Starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, McHone, 35, began having the first contact visits with his family and friends since he arrived on death row 14 years ago.

McHone lost his last chance to halt the execution when Gov. Mike Easley denied clemency late Thursday. That decision was announced after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down McHone's appeal without comment. The court rejected the appeal from McHone's lawyers to stop the execution so that his mother's dying statement that he didn't intend to shoot her could be considered.

Final words and such: He issued no last statement, but appeared to say "I'm so sorry," to half brother Wesley Adams Jr., who supported the execution and drove from Ohio to witness it.

"We have sympathy and pray for comfort for those who will grieve Steve's passing," Adams said in a statement. "We do, however, feel that justice was upheld and that this fate was sealed many years ago."

Other family members had sought clemency.

Factoids: McHone was the....

50th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
994th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in North Carolina in 2005
37th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

November 9, 2005

Last Meal: Thacker had a final meal request of two double cheeseburgers, French fries with ketchup, onion rings, fajitas, two Mountain Dews, two Coca-Colas, two Dr. Peppers, guacamole dip with tortilla chips, four slices of pepperoni pizza, one chocolate chip, two slices of double chocolate cake and two pints of ice cream.

The skinny: Thacker, 37, a convicted serial rapist was executed for the strangling and attempted rape of an elementary school teacher 12 years ago.

More skinny: The victim was returning from a trip to the grocery store when she stopped to retrieve her mail at her apartment complex. Thacker accosted her, then dragged her into a nearby women's bathroom. Witnesses at Thacker's trial testified that they noticed Thacker lurking around the mailboxes about an hour before Crawford was attacked. A building resident noticed Crawford's keys hanging from her mailbox, which led to a search of the grounds. Eventually a maintenance worker checked the bathroom. Thacker burst out, sprayed the maintenance worker with pepper spray and ran into a heavily wooded area. A short time later, Houston police with tracking dogs found Thacker hiding behind a house in the woods. The woman was placed on life support and she died two days later.

The trial: During the trial, several female witnesses, 13 to 64, testified about their encounters with Thacker, many of them saying they were raped and nearly strangled. During the penalty phase of the trial, Thacker's mother told the jury that her son had been molested as a child by a man she had dated and begged that his life be spared. The jury returned a sentence of death in only about two hours.

Priors: Before the capital conviction, Thacker served a little less than four years of two concurrent 12-year sentences he received in 1988 for robbery and sexual assault. Five months after his release, he beat and nearly stabbed to death a 62-year-old woman who had stayed late at a church.

From his website: Thacker declined to be interviewed in the weeks leading up to his execution, but on a Web site where death row inmates seek pen pals acknowledged he was in the area when Crawford was attacked "up to no good with two other guys looking for stuff to steal and sell." There was no evidence of others involved. On his Web site, Thacker suggested the woman accidentally died because of CPR efforts.

Last words and such: Thacker, strapped onto a gurney and in a slightly quivering voice, thanked his two witnesses, volunteer prison ministers. "Jack and Irene, I love you guys. Tell my family I love them. I am sorry for the things I have done. I know God will forgive me." Thacker asked that his daughter be cared for. "Keep track of Danielle for me. I will miss you guys. I love you. I guess that's all." He also said he was looking forward to seeing his deceased mother. Thacker also asked his witnesses to tell his attorney that "they couldn't find a vein on my arm."

Factoids: Thacker was the....

49th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
993rd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
17th murderer executed in Texas in 2005
353rd murderer executed in Texas since 1976