Thursday, December 12, 2002

December 11, 2002

No dining in the Magnolia state...

Last Meal: Williams ate nothing on his final day, forgoing even a last meal of his choice.

The skinny: Jessie Derrell Williams was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday for the 1983 rape and mutilation murder of an 18-year-old Jackson County woman.

Last statements: When asked if he had a final statement, Williams responded, "No, sir."

Packing for death row: Williams was transported to a 6-by-9-foot holding cell adjacent to the death chamber. An officer guards him at all times. In his cell, he is allowed only a red jumpsuit, standard attire for death row inmates; one set of underwear; and legal and writing material.

Factoids: The was Mississippi's second execution this year and the state's second in 13 years. Tracy Alan Hansen was executed in July by lethal injection. Before that the state had used the gas chamber.

The execution was delayed about 20 minutes while officials searched for a usable vein for the IV. A prison spokeswoman said dehydration contributed to the problem.

Williams declined to take a sedative, telling officials, "I say 'no' to drugs." He instead took two ibuprofen.

Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said prison officials had practiced the lethal injection procedure several times in the last week.

The Process: As a security measure, the penitentiary was placed on emergency/lockdown status Tuesday.

"It cuts down on unnecessary movement, (The other inmates) don't even get their hour of exercise. They don't get to leave their cells at all. Nobody moves."

At 6 p.m. today, six MDOC officers will escort Williams, whose hands and feet will be shackled, to the death chamber and strap him to a gurney. "If the inmate tries to resist, you have to have six people to take him down.

The penitentiary superintendent, a medical pathologist and a coroner also will be present. A microphone will be lowered over Williams' head in case he has final words.

A timekeeper and the executioner will be in a separate room. The IV runs from that room to the death chamber. Williams has asked that his body be donated to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.