Saturday, August 23, 2003

August 7, 2003

.....Bad Guest Service Station......

Last Meal: For his final meal, Fortenberry requested shrimp but it wasn't available in the prison kitchen. He ate snacks from the vending machines in the visitation area.

The skinny: Fortenberry was executed for killing four people during a gas station robbery in 1984 during the course of a $400 robbery of the Guest Service Station.

Police later found the murder weapon and traced it to a gun repair shop partly owned by Fortenberry's father. During questioning by police, Fortenberry led lawmen to the location where he had disposed of the pistol after the slayings. It was the exact area that police had recovered the weapon. Fortenberry also gave several stories about the murders. He told police he needed money because of a gambling habit. Fortenberry later claimed he was at the station, but another man shot the four victims. That man was named Harvey Underwood.

Last Day: Fortenberry slept well Wednesday night, his last night, awoke about 5 a.m. Thursday and refused to eat breakfast. He went back to sleep until about 7:30 a.m., when he got up, showered and dressed, and had more visits with family and friends.

Fortenberry gave his Bible to his mother, his TV to a nephew, a cup and other items to fellow Death Row inmates.

Last words and such: Fortenberry had no last words but smiled faintly, flashed an "I love you" hand sign to two prison ministry friends in an adjoining witness room.

Post event words: "The punishment is not in the dying, it's in the 19 years of hell he's lived through," said Ben Sherrod, a lay minister with the prison ministry Kairos. "You watched a Christian die, a man that's now in the arms of our Lord."

Factoids:Fortenberry was a former nursing school graduate.

Fortenberry was the....

51st murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
871st murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in Alabama in 2003
28th murderer executed in Alabama since 1976