Sunday, July 30, 2006

July 20, 2006

...executed in Virginia's electric chair ...

Last Meal: Hedrick had a final meal request of pizza with cheese, sausage and hamburger; french fries with ketchup; bacon; chocolate cake; and apple pie.

The skinny: Hedrick was executed in Virginia's electric chair last night for the slaying of a 23-year-old woman.

More skinny: While walking down the street at 1 a.m. in an area where prostitutes gathered, the 23-year old victim was abducted by Hedrick and Trevor Jones. Reportedly, the two were drinking bourbon and ingesting marijuana and crack cocaine.

The woman was robbed, put in Jones' truck and driven around before she was raped and then shot to death at short range with a shotgun. Her face no longer recognizable, her head wrapped in duct tape and her hands shackled, the woman was later found in the river. Upon arrest, Hedrick confessed to pulling the trigger. Accomplice Jones was sentenced to life in prison.

The Chair: Hedrick was the first person electrocuted in the United States in more than two years, and the first in three years in Virginia.

Only four of 72 Virginia killers have chosen the chair since Jan. 1, 1995, when they were given the option of injection.

The electrocution for the murder the mother of a 5-year-old boy and slain on Mother's Day -- was performed without complication.

Hedrick may have chosen electrocution because of concerns about pain accompanying lethal injection.

The Chair Procedure: Shortly before 9 p.m., Hedrick, his head freshly shaved, was led into the execution chamber. He appeared calm, wearing dark-blue prison pants with the right leg cut off at the knee and a light-blue shirt with the sleeves cut off. He was ushered into the electric chair and a half-dozen execution team members secured him stiffly upright with leather and nylon straps on his limbs and torso before asking if he had any last words.

A metal device holding a sea sponge soaked in brine was then attached to his right calf, and a wide strap with a hole for his nose but covering his eyes and mouth secured his head to the chair. A metal cap holding another brine-soaked sponge was strapped on the top of his head. Power cables were then connected to the head and leg.

A prison official turned a key on the wall activating the system and an execution team member viewing the chair through a one-way window pressed the execution button.

It was about 9:02 p.m. when Hedrick's body jumped up straight, straining against the straps, his fists clenched. A small amount of smoke briefly rose from his leg. His body briefly relaxed between the two 90-second cycles of electricity. Each cycle starts with about 1,800 volts at 7.5 amps for 30 seconds and then 60 seconds of about 240 volts at 1.5 amps. His body jumped and leg smoked at the start of the second cycle. After five minutes, a physician entered, put a stethoscope to Hedrick's chest and pronounced him dead.

Last words and such: Asked if he would like to make a last statement, Hedrick said: "I pray for everybody that believes in Jesus Christ in heaven, and I pray for the people that are unsaved that they will accept Christ because they know not what they do and will accept Christ one day. I am ready to go and be free."

Factoids: Hedrick was the...

31st murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1035th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Virginia in 2006
96th murderer executed in Virginia since 1976

About eight protesters gathered outside the correctional center before the execution. Many were with Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Katie Norberg said she had been a pen pal of Hedrick for more than six years, since she had been a student at Alexandria's West Potomac High School. "I really believe he is a good person. Nothing malicious about him," she said.

Virginia is one of 10 states that allows electrocution and it is required in Nebraska. As in many of those states, however, the electric chair has fallen largely into disuse. In 1995, the state passed a law allowing death-row inmates the option of choosing lethal injection. The chair was rewired in 1991 after a series of botched electrocutions in Virginia and other states in the 1980s.

July 20, 2006

Last Meal: Anderson had a final meal request of lasagna, mashed potatoes with gravy, beets, green beans, fried okra, two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream, a fruit pie, tea and lemonade.

The skinny: Anderson, 40, a child sex offender, was executed for abducting and killing a 5-year-old girl in Amarillo 14 years ago.

More skinny: One afternoon, the five-year old girl went outside to play. As she returned home past Anderson's home, he abducted her and took her inside, where he attempted to rape her, then choked, stabbed, beat and drowned her. He then stuffed her body into a large foam cooler, pushed the cooler along the street in a grocery cart and dumped it in a trash bin, where it was discovered.

Upon arrest, Anderson gave a complete confession.

The trial: An Amarillo jury took less than 15 minutes to return a guilty verdict and less than 30 minutes to determine Anderson should die. "By far, it was absolutely the worst thing a little girl could ever go through," Chuck Slaughter, the Potter County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Anderson, said this week. "If there's anybody out there who deserves the punishment he received from a jury, it would be Robert Anderson."

Priors: Anderson had a history of sexual offenses involving children that dated to his teen years in Tulsa, Okla., and said he'd been in and out of centers to deal with his obsession with young girls.

"My whole life is a regret," he said, adding that he looked forward to dying. "I should have been in prison when I was 15."

No appeals: Anderson acknowledged the horrific slaying of the girl and asked that no new appeals be filed to try to block his execution.

Last words and such: "I am sorry for the pain I have caused you," Anderson told the grandmother of his victim. "I have regretted this for a long time. I am sorry." "Anderson also apologized to his family. As the lethal drugs began taking effect, Anderson muttered a prayer. Eight minutes later he was pronounced dead.

Factoids: Anderson was the....

30th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1034th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
16th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
371st murderer executed in Texas since 1976

In 1998, Anderson survived an attack by a fellow death row inmate who stabbed him 67 times with a shank. Anderson said the attack was the result of race-related prison gang extortion efforts and not related to his crime.

July 19, 2006

...strapping on the feed bag...

Last Meal: Brown had a final meal request of fifteen enchiladas heavy with cheese and onions, onion rings or fries, eight pieces fried chicken and eight pieces bbq chicken, eight whole peppers, ten hard shell tacos with plenty of meat, cheese, onions and sause, four double meat-double cheese-double bacon burgers, a boneless T-bone steak with A1 Steak Sauce and a pan of peach cobbler.

The skinny: Brown, 31, a San Antonio gang member, was executed for the shooting death of a man during a robbery attempt in the driveway of his victim's home.

More skinny: On an August evening, Kenneth Foster, Mauriceo Brown, DeWayne Dillard, and Julius Steen embarked on a series of armed robberies around San Antonio, Texas, beginning with Brown’s announcing he had a gun and asking whether the others wanted to rob people: “I have the strap, do you all want to jack?”

The next day, Brown and his accomplices followed a car to the residence of the victim, looking to carjack the vehicle. Brown ran up to the man, who was standing near his vehicle. A woman who was with the victim heard Brown demand the man’s wallet, money and keys; she saw Brown point a gun at the victim's face for about two minutes before firing. The woman gave police a description of the assailants. Police arrested the men shortly thereafter.

Brown’s three accomplices gave written statements to police identifying Brown as the person who fatally shot the man. Brown admitted in his statement to police and at trial that he fired the fatal shot. At trial, Brown testified that he approached the man to obtain the woman's telephone number and only drew his weapon when he saw what appeared to be a gun on the victim. Foster and Brown were tried jointly for capital murder committed in the course of a robbery and they both were sentenced to death.

The early morning attack capped a spree by the street gang members who called themselves the Hoover 94 Crips. At least four other people were robbed that night. ``They were out pretty much on a rampage, stoned to the bone, victimizing people,'' said Jack McGinnis, one of the prosecutors in the cases against Brown and Foster.

Recant: Brown had been recanting his confession, saying his accomplices threatened his family if he didn't take the fall for the slaying. ``That claim is preposterous,'' said Mike Ramos, who was a Bexar County assistant district attorney in 1997 and also prosecuted Brown and Foster. ``He has absolutely no credibility. Any court could see he has zip.''

Leading up to: A brother said earlier Wednesday that Brown seemed calm and almost upbeat, having found refuge in religion. A month ago, Brown had himself re-baptized a Catholic. He had been reading the Bible daily. "He feels like everything happens for a reason, and he was given this opportunity to get his life right with God," Leslie Brown said.

Last words and such: With two brothers of his victim watching nearby through a window, Mauriceo Brown final words were..."To the victim's family, I am sorry you lost a brother, loved one and friend. I apologize that you lost a loved one this way. To my family, I love you all. Keep your heads up and know I will be in a better place. God bless you all. OK, Warden."

As the drugs took effect, Brown's mother wailed and then collapsed to the floor in tears, proclaiming he was innocent. "He was not guilty, God Jesus, no," screamed Cynthia Lucky after the drugs took effect and Brown lost consciousness. "They didn't care. They didn't care."

Factoids...Brown was the....

29th murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1033rd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
15th murderer executed in Texas in 2006
370th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

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.