Wednesday, February 01, 2006

January 27, 2006

...The state argued that the Constitution does not guarantee a pain-free execution...

Last Meal: Shrimp, mushrooms and deep-fried onions appetizers, New York strip steak, a chicken breast, baked potato, salad, and 7-Up soft drink.

The skinny: Bieghler, an admitted drug dealer, was put to death for the 1981 slayings of a man and his pregnant wife inside their home.

More skinny: Bieghler was in the business of buying and selling marijuana. The male victim sold drugs for Bieghler. After one of Bieghler’s chief operatives was arrested and a large shipment seized, he suspected the man of “snitching” on him. Bieghler and his bodyguard, Brook, drove to the man’s trailer near Kokomo, and while his bodyguard waited outside, Bieghler went in and shot both the man and his pregnant wife with a .38 pistol. A dime was found near each body. He was later arrested in Florida. Brook cut a deal and was the star witness for the State at trial. While the gun was never recovered, nine .38 casings found at the scene matched those found at Bieghler’s regular target shooting range.

Legal Machinations: The Supreme Court overturned a federal appeals court decision Thursday night that granted Bieghler, 58, a chance to challenge the legality of lethal injection even though the Supreme Court had rejected a similar appeal just hours earlier. Gov. Mitch Daniels on Thursday had turned down a clemency request.

The Supreme Court announced its 6-3 decision less than a half hour before the scheduled time of Marvin Bieghler's execution. The late court action caused a delay of about 30 minutes in carrying out the execution.

The state attorney general's office argued that Bieghler's appeal was a delay tactic and that Indiana's chemical injection method of execution, used since 1996, was constitutional. The state argued that the Constitution does not guarantee a pain-free execution. "Indeed, electrocution is a constitutionally permissible form of execution which is undoubtedly more painful than lethal injection," the brief said. Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer voted to grant the stay, court spokesman Ed Turner said.

Last words and such: Bieghler's final words were "Let's get it over with."

The Marine Corps veteran who saw significant combat during the Vietnam War also issued a written statement released by the prison. But he did direct the phrase "semper fi" - the Marine Corps motto meaning "always faithful" in Latin - to those he called his "brother warriors." The brief statement concluded: "I believe in God, country, corps. Death before dishonor. To my son, grandkids and stepkids, you will always have a piece of my heart. Semper fi, Marv."

Factoids: Bieghler was the...

4th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1008th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Indiana in 2006
17th murderer executed in Indiana since 1976

About 25 people protested Thursday night against the death penalty outside the prison.