Saturday, March 20, 2004

March 18, 2004

..."Some people think they get exotic things. That's not the case." ...

Last Meal: Cherrix refused to have the menu revealed of his final meal. However, Cherrix's last dinner was prison food, said David Bass, a regional manager with the state Department of Corrections .

"Some people think they get exotic things," Bass said. "That's not the case."

The skinny: Cherrix was executed for the murder of a restaurant pizza deliverer he had lured to a desolate area.

Cherrix forcibly sodomized the woman while holding a rifle to the back of her head, and shot her twice while the young wife and mother begged for her life, promising she would "act like this never happened."

The undelivered pizza was in the front of the car.

The Wheels of Justice turn slowly: The slaying jolted the community and remained unsolved for several years until Cherrix, jailed for shooting his half-brother, confessed to the killing after trying to blame it on a deceased cousin.

In the coming years, Cherrix alternately denied and confessed to the slaying and unsuccessfully exhausted every legal appeal.

Last Day: On his last day, Cherrix welcomed visitors. From 9 to 11 a.m., and again from 1 to 3 p.m., he met with people including two sisters, his daughter and an aunt. They were "contact visits," said Bass -- meaning Cherrix could sit at a table with his family and even hold hands.

Last words and such: When asked if he wanted to offer final words, Cherrix responded quietly and promptly. "No, I do not," he said.

Virginia History: Cherrix is the 326th person executed in Virginia since 1908, when the state code mandated that the State Penitentiary in Richmond be used to carry out all executions. Prior to that, death sentences involved hanging on the courthouse grounds, which were carried out by local sheriffs.

Executions were moved to the newly constructed Greensville facility in 1991. Beginning in 1995, condemned inmates had the option to choose between lethal injection or the electric chair. When no choice is made, lethal injection is automatic.

Since the option became available, 62 lethal injections have been performed, and only three electric-chair executions.

Bass, who has witnessed about 80 executions, said he had never seen a condemned inmate struggle with guards after entering the death house, although one bent down to kiss the electric chair before he took a seat in it.

Also attending the execution were six citizen witnesses who volunteered to observe the procedure, which is required by the state code.


Cherrix was the...
17th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
902nd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Virginia in 2004
90th murderer executed in Virginia since 1976