Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November 9, 2006

...The man was one month from getting married when Schmitt killed him...

Last Meal: Schmitt, 33, had a final meal request of cheese pizza, a cheese omelet with sausage, green peppers and onions, and white cake with white icing.

The skinny: Schmitt was executed for the murder of a guard during a bank robbery.

More skinny: Schmitt shot the victim to death during the Feb. 17, 1999, robbery of a NationsBank branch in Bon Air. The man, 39, had just retired from the military and was one month from getting married when Schmitt killed him.

Schmitt entered the bank wearing sunglasses and a bulky jacket, attracting the attention of the victim, who followed him inside. During the bank robbery, Schmitt fired two shots, one of them hitting the man in the chest. No one in the bank witnessed the murder, and it was not captured by a security camera. The dead man's handgun remained in its closed, snapped holster. Schmitt fled with nearly $36,000 in cash.

It was the second time that Schmitt had robbed the bank. The first time he robbed it of $65,000 armed with a sawed-off shotgun, was accompanied by an accomplice and there was no security guard present.

Schmitt was captured days later at a hotel room in Williamsburg with more than $27,000 taken in the robbery. Schmitt claimed he shot the man accidentally as the two struggled over Schmitt's weapon.

Authorities, however, said the killing was premeditated and the jury recommended the death penalty after finding Schmitt was a future danger to society.

Schmitt's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court contended he should have been allowed to present evidence of security conditions in Virginia prisons in an attempt to reassure jurors that it would be safe to impose a sentence of life in prison without parole instead of death.

Last words and such: Schmitt entered the death chamber at 8:55, unaccompanied by a lawyer or spiritual adviser, Schmitt looked straight ahead without expression at the stainless steel gurney. Six correctional officers moved the stout man onto the gurney and quickly fastened straps around his arms, legs and torso.

As Schmitt lay with his feet facing witnesses, arms at 45-degree angles on armrests, the prison warden held a microphone near his mouth and asked if he had any last words. "Come on with it," Schmitt said in a matter-of-fact tone.

Factoids: Schmitt was the...

52nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1056th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in Virginia in 2006
98th murderer executed in Virginia since 1976

A half-hour before the execution, more than a dozen protesters gathered outside the prison for a candlelight vigil.