Saturday, August 28, 2004

August 19, 2004

...good driveways make good neighbors...

Last Meal: French fries with lots of ketchup, tossed salad with French dressing, a cheeseburger with mayonnaise and tomato, Saltine crackers and apple pie.

The skinny: James Hudson, 57, was executed by for the shotgun slayings of three relatives in rural Virginia two years ago after a long feud over the maintenance of a shared driveway.

The dispute over the driveway began after Hudson's father sold a parcel of land to the victims. Hudson maintained the right to use a road that ran through the property to get to his home, but he frequently complained that they were not taking care of it.

Hudson was arrested after a 23-hour manhunt.

No legal machinations: Hudson pleaded guilty to the July 3, 2002 murders and refused to let his lawyers file any appeals on his behalf. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been at least 105 such so-called "volunteers" executed since the US Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976.

The day before: Hudson did not meet with any family members, clergy or his lawyers

Last words and such: Hudson shuffled to the gurney with the help of two guards, who supported him under his arms. He was wearing a light blue button-down shirt and dark blue pants and brown slippers. His gray hair was neatly combed.

With 16 officials in the execution chamber, Hudson was placed on the gurney and immediately surrounded by six members of the Execution Team, who strapped him to the table. Two other members of the Execution Team watched Hudson intently as he was shackled to the table with leather straps binding both ankles, his thighs, chest, waist and wrists

Asked if he had any last words, Hudson told Warden George Hinkle in a clear voice, "No sir." Hudson "seemed very calm, very quiet. He seemed pretty resigned to his fate."

Factoids: Hudson was the...

39th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
924th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in Virginia in 2004
93rd murderer executed in Virginia since 1976