Wednesday, July 23, 2003

July 22, 2003

...three weeks later...

Last Meal: Swisher had no special requests for his last meal. He ate the same food as the rest of the prisoners: a hot dog and bun with mustard and onions, oven-browned potatoes, cole slaw and watermelon.

The skinny: Bobby Wayne Swisher was executed, after a three-week delay, for the rape and murder of a 22-year-old woman.

Swisher abducted victim as she was working late preparing for Valentine's Day at a florist she co-owned. Her body was found later that month in a field within two miles of the shop.

During the trial, Swisher's lawyers did not dispute that he committed the crime, but they argued that Swisher should be spared because he was too high on drugs and alcohol to know what he was doing.

Three Week Delay: The execution came less than a week after the Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear the final appeal by Swisher's attorneys. The governor delayed the execution, which had been set for July 1, until today to give Swisher a chance to ask the Virginia Supreme Court for a new sentencing. In his July 1 statement, Warner said the matter was best handled by the courts and that he would not intervene if the court rejected Swisher's request.

"Bobby Wayne Swisher committed a vile and reprehensible act - an act which I believe justifies the death penalty," the governor said.

Last words and such: "I hope you all can find the same peace in Jesus Christ as I have," Swisher said in his last statement.

Factoids: In a telephone interview this month, Swisher said he was ready to die, if it came to that, because of a religious conversion about a year ago. "I was just a wild child. I was out there having fun and partying. That was it," he said. "I was a stupid, narrow-minded kid and made bad choices with devastating results."

At 8:30 p.m., three people stood outside the prison to protest Swisher's execution.

One, Francis Carlhian, who is from Belgium but lives in Charlottesville, said he was surprised there were so few protesters at the prison, noting that opposition to the death penalty is widespread in Europe.

"I was thinking a lot of people would come," said Carlhian, a housemate of Schrader. "A man is dying. It's crazy."

Swisher was the....
46th murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
866th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Virginia in 2003
89th murderer executed in Virginia since 1976

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.