Wednesday, January 14, 2004

January 14, 2004

Fighting until the end...

Last Meal: Williams declined to select a last meal, referred to as a "special meal" by prison officials. When asked what he wanted on two separate occasions, he replied, "God's word."

As a result, he was served what the other inmates were eating for dinner...smoked sausage, rice with black-eyed peas, collard greens, grape Kool-Aid, vanilla pudding and bread, she said.

The skinny: Williams, 45, struggling and yelling "please God, help me," had to be carried into the execution chamber by six guards before being put to death for the 1983 murder of an elderly woman.

The dreaded "jailhouse confession." Throughout his two decades on death row, Williams claimed innocence, arguing prosecutors used trumped-up evidence and coerced witnesses, including testimony from two inmates who testified he confessed while in jail awaiting trial.

Evidence: Witnesses testified Williams was at the victim's home the night she was shot, and police found gunshot residue on his clothing and his shoe print on the hem of her dress. A trail of coins and the woman's empty pay envelopes were found nearby.

Williams claimed he had left the victim's house before she was killed.

The long walk: Williams' peaceful mood while reading the Bible and talking with his lawyer in the hours before his death disappeared when the execution process began at 9:51 a.m.

An execution timeline:

-- 9:51 a.m. Movement detected around the preparation table in a room next to the death chamber, as seen through two video monitors. It is the first time in nine executions that the preparation process was viewed by witnesses.

-- 9:52 a.m. Members of the 12-person execution team forcibly lift Williams from his knees and pry his hand off the edge of the preparation table. Williams' mother sobs as she watches from a witness room. There were no witnesses for the victim.

-- 9:54 a.m. At least nine members of the team work to restrain a struggling Williams with a series of straps. Williams, yelling and shaking his head, repeatedly strains to lift himself up.

-- 9:56 a.m. Williams continues to struggle and shout. One guard standing by his head alternately restrains him and pats his right shoulder to comfort him.

-- 10:02 a.m. The shunts are successfully placed on the inside of Williams' forearms above the elbow. Williams has stopped shouting but continues to speak, often in a type of chant, that is not audible.

-- 10:03 a.m. The straps are taken off and Williams, his body drooping, is carried into the execution chamber by four guards. He yells, "I'm not guilty, I'm not guilty, God, please help me," as seven guards strap him down.

-- 10:06 a.m. A member of the execution team enters the chamber and attaches the tubes carrying the lethal chemicals to the shunts in Williams' arms.

-- 10:07 a.m. Williams is asked for a last statement. "God, please help me, God, please hear my cry," he said. James Haviland, warden of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, gives a signal not visible to witnesses to start the flow of chemicals.

-- 10:08 a.m. After continuing to cry out and yell, Williams abruptly stops speaking as the chemicals apparently take effect. The sobbing of his mother grows much louder.

-- 10:14 a.m. Haviland orders the curtains drawn between the chamber and the witness room.

-- 10:15 a.m. Haviland reopens the curtains and declares the time of death as 10:15 a.m.


His scheduled June 2002 execution was stayed by a judge to evaluate whether Williams was retarded, which would have commuted his death sentence. Experts hired by his attorneys determined he was not retarded and Williams fired his lawyers.

Williams was the....
5th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
890th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Ohio in 2004
9th murderer executed in Ohio since 1976