Friday, April 25, 2003

April 24, 2003

least culpable, but culpable nonetheless...

Last Meal: Brown requested no last meal, eating only an ice cream sandwich from a vending machine.

The skinny:
Gary Leon Brown was executed for the stabbing death of a gay man who was nearly decapitated during a robbery.

Gay Bashers: The victim, described in trial testimony as a homosexual, was stabbed 78 times. Prosecutors said the savageness of the attack indicated the killing may not have been simply a robbery, but it was not prosecuted as a hate crime against a gay victim. The victim's body was left in the mobile home, where he lived alone, until it was found by neighborhood children. He had been robbed of $67 and several appliances.

Wash in the blood of the lamb: Brown was known on Alabama's death row for his religious evangelism. A former prison chaplain who counseled Brown and testified at his clemency hearing, said Brown "made a terrible mistake, as many people make mistakes. I can guarantee you he's real in his commitment to Christ." A Monday night church service began in 1989 on death row. "That service has continued uninterrupted all these years. Gary has been there every Monday night since it started," said the chaplin.

The final day: Brown's mother, wife, son, two sisters, a brother and his spiritual adviser made final visits with the inmate Thursday morning. Brown sang hymns, had communion and prayed with his visitors. He gave three Bibles, letters and $109.92 from his prison account to his wife and a watch and wooden cross to his son. The rest of his belongings, a radio, headphones, books, a dictionary and a television went to the remaining Death Row inmates.

Last words and such: Brown made no public statement but kept his eyes locked on his wife who was just feet away in the witness room, separated by a glass window. For about 5 minutes they mouthed exchanges to each other, including "I love you" and "Go with God." Strapped to a gurney, he waved to her with the fingers of his left hand. "Goodbye sweetie," he mouthed. "I love you."

Partners in crime: Brown's attorney had petitioned the governor for clemency, in part, because one of Brown's two cohorts in the killing was paroled, and the other - who cut the victim's throat with a butcher knife- is serving a term of life without parole following a retrial.

She called Brown the "least culpable" of the three killers.

Factoids: Brown spent 16 years on Alabama's Death Row. Brown was pronounced dead after a series of seven injections.