Sunday, July 27, 2003

July 24, 2003

..."It ruined my whole day." ...

Last Meal: For his last meal, Willingham ate fettuccine alfredo, a small deep-dish pepperoni pizza, breadsticks and two peppermint patties.

The skinny: Willingham was executed for fatally beating a 62-year-old Lawton woman he said was rude to him. Willingham was selling perfume door to door in Lawton, Oklahoma. Working his way through a downtown building, he came to the office occupied by the victimWey. Although she told him she did not wish to purchase any perfume, he continued to press her, adhering to his standard sales procedure of insisting on three "no" answers from a potential customer. The repeated rejections that ensued led to an what Willingham claims was a rude rebuff. After calling on some other offices in the building, Willingham noticed the victim enter a restroom off the hallway near her office. Still angry over their earlier confrontation, he eventually followed her into the restroom, pulled her from a stall, and struck her several times in the face. As she continued to struggle with him, he slammed her head into the wall and kicked her in the face with his boot. The victim lost consciousness and died asphyxiating on the blood from her injuries. Police found a sales brochure left at one of the other offices, and eventually questioned Willingham, who at first denied any involvement then confessed.

Trail stuff: During his trial, Willingham said he had not meant to kill the victim, only to hurt her . He testified that while he was in her office trying to sell perfume, she asked him to leave, called him names and slammed the door on him.

"I was angry. I was upset," Willingham testified during the 1995 trial. "I was frustrated and upset with her for being rude to me.

"I just couldn't get in the mood to sell anymore. It ruined my whole day."

Last words and such: "I want to apologize to the (victim's) family. I'm so sorry for the pain I've caused you," Willingham said before his execution. "I hope by my death you find some closure and one day forgive me. For my family, I'm so sorry for this. I love you."

Willingham then looked up and said, "OK, I'm ready."

Factoids: Willingham is the....
48th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
868th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
13th murderer executed in Oklahoma in 2003
68th murderer executed in Oklahoma since 1976

The state pardon and parole board last month recommended clemency for Willingham, but the recommendation was rejected by Governor Henry.

Three death penalty protesters were arrested at the state Capitol after a rally in opposition of Willingham's execution.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers assigned to Henry's security detail took the demonstrators into custody as they walked down a hall toward Henry's office.

They face misdemeanor charges of disrupting a state office or business.

Gov. Brad Henry has not granted any clemencies since he took office in January.

This summary was compiled using various news accounts and also from Jason Whitehorn KSWO-ABC (Lawton, OK).