Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Rex Mays
September 24, 2002

LAST MEAL: Scrambled eggs with shredded cheese, cream gravy, hash browns, pan sausage, orange juice and milk.

No clowning around...execution #800!

The skinny: Warning: Gacy/Pogo Alert! Mays, who occasionally earned money performing as Uh-Oh the Clown and dressed as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny parked his car a few blocks from home the day of the killings, choosing to walk home so he could think about how to tell his wife he had lost his job. He stopped outside the Wiley home, where 10-year-old Kristin's mother was down the street visiting with a neighbor. Music from a stereo was blaring and he followed the sounds to a bedroom, where the girl was with her younger friend. She refused his request to turn down the volume. "Here I had just gotten fired and some kid's telling me, 'No,'" he said in the confession. He went to the kitchen, the girls behind him telling him to leave. "It was just like something came over me," he said, explaining how he grabbed a knife and turned toward the children, who screamed and ran to a bedroom. He followed and killed them, "still feeling badly about how my day had gone," he said in the confession.

Then he went home, changed shirts before greeting his wife, and took a shower, telling his wife he had just seen someone run through the yard.

DEMENTED: As police swooped into the northwest Harris County neighborhood that July afternoon, Mays grabbed a lawn chair and sat outside to watch the scene. Interviewed by detectives, he said he saw two men scaling a backyard fence during the time the girls would have been killed. It was pursued as the first lead in the case. "That turned out to be a lie," McClellan said.

Despite a reward fund that grew to at least $25,000 and a billboard campaign that kept the two girls in the public eye, it wasn't until more than a year later after a Harris County sheriff's detective befriended Mays as part of the investigation that Mays cracked.

DOOFUS: Mays had no previous criminal record but acquaintances described him as a bad-tempered liar and braggart. A co-worker called him a "doofus, ... creepy but harmless."

Final Moments: While strapped to the gurney in the death chamber, Mays gave a final statement that touched on his religious beliefs and thanked his supporters. He did not apologize to the relatives of the victims, who were present. "Warden, just give me parole and let me go home to be with the lord," Mays said just before the lethal drugs were injected into his veins.

Factoids: The execution of Rex Mays was the 800th in the U.S. since the Supreme Court lifted a national death penalty ban in 1976. Mays was the 27th person executed this year in Texas, the nation's death penalty leader, and the 283rd since it resumed capital punishment in 1982.