Friday, October 29, 2004

October 22, 2004

...perhaps Lippard should not be driving...

Last Meal: A sirloin steak, popcorn shrimp, salad with bleu cheese dressing, a honeybun and vanilla Coke.

The skinny: Roache, 30, was executed for his part in a killing spree that claimed six lives.

More skinny: Roache and Chris Lippard were on the run from a 48 hour crime spree that included the killing of the first victim. Attempting to leave the state, Lippard drove their vehicle into a ditch, disabling it.

Roache and Lippard walked towards the nearest house in order to steal a car. This house was the home of an elderly couple. Lippard and Roache entered and held them at gunpoint. Roache then took guns from the house, bound the couple's hands with duct tape, then fled with Lippard in their 1986 Ford pickup truck. Driving away, Lippard overturned the truck.

Lippard returned to the house. Roache stayed behind to gather their items from the truck. Lippard then yelled for help and Roache saw Lippard fighting with a man, later determined to be the couple's son, Eddie. Roache shot him once in the chest with the shotgun. Roache then reloaded the gun and went to the house with Lippard. They were confronted by the dead man's wife. Roache broke open the door and shot her once in the face. Roache then followed their 14 year old daughter into the bathroom and shot her once in the side of the head. Lippard and Roache then went to the living room and shot both of the elderly couple in the head. Three generations of a family were eliminated without provocation and without mercy.

Roache was arrested later near the home, and immediately confessed to the murders. He later waived all appeals. Accomplice Lippard received a life sentence.

Priors: Roache was previously convicted and sentenced for Possession of Controlled Substance (1996), Breaking and Entering (1995), Larceny (1992), Breaking and Entering (1991), Larceny (1991), Breaking and Entering (1990), and misdemeanor assault and communicating threats.

A bad childhood: Witnesses testified during Roache's sentencing hearing about his family's long history of violence and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Roache's maternal grandmother died in front of her daughter in 1958 after her husband doused her with gasoline and set her on fire.

Roache's mother once made him pet a litter of kittens and then watch as she killed them one by one. She set puppies on fire in a barrel and once told Roache that if he went to church something might happen to another of his dogs. The puppy was dead on the doorstep when he returned home. Three of Roache's teachers testified at his sentencing hearing that Roache was a quiet child who was teased about his stuttering and his last name. He abused alcohol and drugs, and was high and drunk during the slayings.

Last words and such: Visiting hours ended at 11 p.m. for Charles Wesley Roache. His last visitor was his mother.

Roache appeared calm and contrite at the end. He had instructed his lawyers to drop all the legal maneuvering that could have given him five more years to live. He embraced Christianity in prison and said he believed it was more important to offer survivors of his six victims certainty and peace rather than stretch his own life.

``I can only hope and pray the pain and hurt I caused you will be healed as I give my life as a key to forgiveness,'' Roache wrote in his final statement. ``May God's love shine on you.''

The procedure: In 1998, North Carolina made lethal injection its only method of execution. In preparation for the execution, the inmate is secured with lined ankle and wrist restraints to a gurney. Cardiac monitor leads and a stethoscope are attached. Two saline intravenous lines are started, one in each arm, and the inmate is covered with a sheet.

The inmate is given the opportunity to speak and pray with the chaplain. The warden then gives the condemned an opportunity to record a final statement that will be made public. After the witnesses are in place, the inmate's gurney is taken into the chamber by correctional officers who draw the curtain and exit. Appropriately trained personnel then enter behind the curtain and connect the cardiac monitor leads, the injection devices and the stethoscope to the appropriate leads. The warden informs the witnesses that the execution is about to begin. He returns to the chamber and gives the order to proceed.

The lethal injection process involves the simultaneous slow pushing into two intravenous lines of chemicals contained in two separate sets of syringes. The syringes are prepared in advance and each contains only one drug. The first syringes contain no less than 3000 milligrams of sodium pentothal, an ultra short acting barbiturate that quickly puts the inmate to sleep. The second syringes contain saline to flush the IV line clean. The third syringes contain no less than 40 milligrams of pancuronium bromide (Pavulon), which is a chemical paralytic agent. The fourth syringes contain no less than 160 millequivalents of potassium chloride, which at this high dosage interrupts nerve impulses to the heart, causing it to stop beating. The fifth syringes contain saline to flush the IV lines clean.

After a flat line displays on the EKG monitor for five minutes, the warden pronounces the inmate dead and a physician certifies that death has occurred. The witnesses are escorted to the elevators and the body is released to the medical examiner.

Factoids: Roache was the...

52nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
937th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
3rd murderer executed in North Carolina in 2004
33rd murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976