Sunday, July 30, 2006

July 14, 2006

Last Meal: Downs was served his last meal early Friday afternoon: Salted cashew nuts, instant french roast coffee, chocolate chip cookie dough, moose tracks ice cream and three Mr. Goodbar candy bars.

The skinny: William “Junior” Downs was put to death by lethal injection for the 1999 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 6-year-old boy.

More skinny: The six-year old victim went bike riding while his mother cooked dinner inside her apartment. He never returned home.

His body was found the next day just outside the park after a massive search.

William Downs had only been in Augusta for three months, having moved from Albany, Ga., when he learned he had a son in the area. He crossed the 13th Street bridge into North Augusta one day and saw the victim riding a bike along a dirt path. He stopped the boy and asked his name before throwing the boy to the ground and raping and strangling him. Downs confessed and pled guilty, telling the Judge he deserved to die for his crime. "I think it would be disrespectful to the family and disrespectful to the whole world if you did not give me the death penalty."

Downs also pleaded guilty in 2005 to kidnapping, raping and killing a 10-year-old boy in Augusta in 1991. That boy was missing before his body was found, and officials originally thought he had accidentally drowned. As part of a plea deal, and since he was already condemned to die in South Carolina, Downs agreed to be sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, plus 10 years. In both cases, authorities said Downs sexually assaulted the victims after they were dead.

No legal machinations: Downs did not pursue any appeals.

Last words and such: Downs made no final statement and kept his eyes trained on the ceiling,

Factoids: Downs was the...

28th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006

1032nd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in South Carolina in 2006
36th murderer executed in South Carolina since 1976

Nine people protested outside Friday's execution, including Rose-Louise Terry of Great Britain, whose husband, Gary Dubose Terry, is on death row in South Carolina. "(Capital punishment) doesn't bring the victim back, and revenge is only sweet for a short time," Ms. Terry said.

This spring, the South Carolina Legislature passed a law allowing the death penalty for criminals who are convicted twice of sexually assaulting children younger than 11.