Saturday, May 10, 2008

September 25, 2007

...the kitchen closes early this year...courtesy of the Supremes...

Last Meal: Richard had a final meal request of fried chicken, a salad with pepper, lemon-lime soda, apple pie and a pint of ice cream.

The skinny: Richard was executed for killing a Harris County woman in 1986.

More skinny: Two months after he had been paroled from prison, Michael Richard approached the vitim's son in front of the their home and asked if a yellow van parked outside the home was for sale.

The man said the vehicle belonged to his brother who was out of town and suggested that Richard come back another time. Richard left. When the victim's son and daughter left a few minutes later, Richard returned and entered the house. He took two television sets and put them in the yellow van, sexually assaulted the victim and shot her in the head with a .25 caliber automatic pistol.

Richard traded the two televisions for cocaine.

Richard admitted he was involved in the murder and offered to help find the murder weapon. Police found the weapon and testing revealed it to be the gun that fired the fatal shot.

Last words and such: Asked if he'd like to make a final statement, Michael Richard said, "I'd like my family to take care of each other. I love you, Angel. Let's ride." Several seconds later, after the lethal drugs started, Richard blurted out, "I guess this is it." He then gasped and snorted several times and was pronounced dead nine minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow.

The victim's family speaks..."It means in this particular case, the system worked, it was thorough," said one son of the victim after watching Richard die. "The person executed deserved what he got. It's been a long 21 years."

Factoids: Richard was the...

42nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1099th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
26th murderer executed in Texas in 2007
405th murderer executed in Texas since 1976

At Richard's first trial, his attorneys told the jury that he scored 62 on an IQ test. Richard's IQ and possible mental retardation were not mentioned in his second trial.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2002 that executing mentally retarded prisoners is unconstitutional, a hearing was held on Richard's mental retardation claim. A psychologist for the state, George Denkowski, reviewed Richard's IQ tests and determined him to be retarded. However, Harris Country officials succeeded in obtaining a new hearing in December 2006. Prosecutor Lynn Hardaway supplied evidence showing that Richard's activities in prison - including writing letters and playing chess - showed that he was not retarded, and that he had never been diagnosed as retarded during his childhood. Denkowski then changed his evaluation, stating that a low IQ test was not conclusive by itself. The courts ruled that Richard's claim of mental retardation was not proven, and rejected his appeals.

Richard said from death row, where he is known as "Louisiana Red." "I just try to live for every day. Everybody's going to die. I just know the date."