Tuesday, June 17, 2003

June 13, 2003

Last Meal: Trueblood refused a special last meal. "This is the way I'm protesting what the state is getting ready to do." However, he was given the same dinner as other inmates: a bologna sandwich, a cheese sandwich, cookies and fruit.

The Skinny: Trueblood was executed for killing a woman and her two children (ages 2 and 1) and buried their bodies in shallow graves. Trueblood pleaded guilty to the 1988 shooting deaths. In later appeals, Trueblood maintained that the victim, who was suicidal, shot her children before shooting herself. Trueblood said he then fired the final shot out of compassion.

Legal Machinations: Gov. Frank O'Bannon denied Trueblood's clemency petition. Trueblood had asked that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison.

Lless than 10 hours before he was scheduled to be executed, the Indiana Supreme Court again refused to spare him.

Last Day: Among those he met with on his last day was a 25 year-old University of Notre Dame graduate who got to know Trueblood through a priest while she attended college.

The student said she and Trueblood ate candy, soft drinks and chips from a vending machine and prayed together.

Beverly Miller, 56, who also visits Death Row inmates, has known Trueblood for 12 years. She said Thursday that "he believes he will be in heaven with (the vicitm) and (the) children."

Final Statement: Trueblood reiterated his innocence, asserting that his attorneys had told him that pleading guilty was the best way to avoid the death penalty.

"That's the only reason I pleaded guilty," he said, in a statement given through his attorney. "If I had been given a lie detector test, it would have proven I was telling the truth."

Post-execution: Trueblood battled the Department of Correction to prevent an autopsy.

A LaPorte County judge on Thursday granted a restraining order preventing the department from conducting an autopsy.

"I don't want my body desecrated in any way," Trueblood said. "Once they murder me, they no longer have any authority over me."

Factoids: Trueblood was the 11th person put to death by the state since it resumed executions in 1981 after 20 years without any.

His was the 858th execution since the United States resumed capital punishment in 1976, the 38th so far this year and the second in Indiana in six weeks.

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.