Monday, March 14, 2005

March 11, 2005

...He then began to count down from 99...

Last Meal: At 5:30 p.m. Thursday night Powell had his last meal: A medium, thin-crust pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and Canadian bacon from Domino's, and a hamburger with mustard, chili and onions from Wendy's and a 20-ounce Pepsi.

The skinny: William Dillard "Bugsy" Powell, 58, was executed for the Halloween 1991 slaying of a convenience store clerk.

More skinny: The victim tried to stop an unarmed Powell from robbing the store. She was hit over the head with what is thought to have been a tire iron, which was kept in the store but never recovered afterward. Powell's motive for the robbery was to get money to buy cocaine.

A customer discovered Mrs. Gladden’s body lying in a pool of her own blood.

Before the slaying, Powell had been honorably discharged from the Army and served as a volunteer with the rescue squad of the Shelby Fire Department, his lawyers say. He was an excellent caregiver to his autistic son and even helped the PTA at his son's school, they say. However, his lawyers say, Powell's life took a downward turn as he succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse. On the night of the killing, Powell was high on cocaine and Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, they say.

Would it be more severe in the other nine states? Powell was executed despite arguments from death penalty opponents that his crime would receive a less severe punishment in 40 other states. Ken Rose, director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, which was assisting Powell's attorneys, said Powell does not deserve to be executed because he did not premeditate his killing and the only legally aggravating factor is attempted robbery. Forty other states would not allow an execution in such a case, Rose argued.

Last words and such: He declined to make a final statement and in the minutes before the lethal drugs were injected, Powell told his sister that he loved her. Execution witnesses were separated from Powell by a thick glass window. He turned quickly toward the back of the room and spoke with his executioners as they began to administer the lethal injection. He then began to count down from 99. His lips stopped moving about the time he reached 95.

Factoids: Powell was the...

10th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005

954th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in North Carolina in 2005
35th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

Death row in North Carolina is home to 178 men and four women. That includes four defendants who committed their crimes as 17-year-olds whose death sentences were thrown out last week by the U.S. Supreme Court.

No other executions are currently scheduled.