Tuesday, March 30, 2004

March 26, 2004

..."It was for the kicks of it, I guess".....

Last Meal: A grilled cheeseburger with onions, pickle and tomatoes, french fries, 3 slices of cheese-and-pepperoni pizza, 3 pints of vanilla, chocolate and chocolate chip ice cream, water, a 20-ounce Coke, a 20-ounce Pepsi and fruit, including an apple, banana and orange.

The skinny: Lawrence Colwell Jr. was executed by lethal injection for the "thrill killing" of an elderly tourist in Las Vegas at the Tropicana.

More skinny: The victim, a New York widower who had retired to the Fort Lauderdale area, was vacationing in Las Vegas when Colwell's girlfriend lured him to his hotel room and summoned Colwell. Colwell strangled the retired Brooklyn furrier with a belt, took $91 in cash and the man's credit cards, but missed $300 the victim had hidden in a sock. Afterward, prosecutors said, Colwell and Merrilee Paul returned to their motel "and had sex and breakfast." Paul later pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Colwell went to his death voluntarily, having waived his appeals. He could have stopped the execution at any time before the lethal drugs entered his system.

At his sentencing hearing in 1995, he asked a three-judge panel to sentence him to death for killing Rosenstock. "I took his life for no reason. No reason at all. It wasn't for the money. It was for the kicks of it, I guess. "It was like taking a walk in the park, taking a drive down the street," he said. "The act itself was committed that easily, and it was uncalled for."

Last words and such: Department of Corrections Director Jackie Crawford, speaking outside the prison gates after Nevada's 10th execution since 1979, said Colwell had no last words. "We asked him, did he want to say anything, and he said, `Absolutely not,' " Crawford said. Colwell took no sedative prior to his execution, she said. "But he did smoke a lot of cigarettes," Crawford said.

Factoids: Voluntary executions are the norm in Nevada. Nine of the 10 men executed since October 1979 have chosen death rather than pursue legal appeals.

Executions are held in the prison's gas chamber, though lethal gas hasn't been used since convicted killer Jesse Bishop was executed in 1979.

Colwell was the...

20th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
905th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Nevada in 2004
10th murderer executed in Nevada since 1976