Wednesday, October 26, 2005

October 26, 2005

..."This is not a death, it is a lynching"....

Last Meal: Gray declined a last meal and a sedative.

The skinny: Gray was executed for his role in the April 1991 rapes and murders of two young women who Gray and his friends encountered by chance after a night spent drinking and smoking marijuana.

More skinny: Gray and three companions encountered two sisters and their cousin. The two groups chatted briefly, then parted. After a few minutes, Gray and his group returned and sexually assaulted the sisters. The sisters and their cousin were pushed off the bridge. The cousin survived the 70-foot fall and swam ashore and testified at the trial of the three men and one teenager who were also on the bridge that night. One girl's body was recovered in Caruthersville three weeks later. The other body was never found.

The others: Daniel Winfrey, who was 15 at the time of the murders, is serving a 30-year sentence after pleading guilty to nine charges, including two counts each of second-degree murder and forcible rape, and agreeing to testify against the other men. Reginald Clemens is on death row. The Missouri Supreme Court reduced Antonio Richardson's death sentence to life in prison because he was sentenced to death by a judge, not a jury.

Last words and such: In an interview Thursday, Gray said: "This is murder to me. I will not participate or let my family participate."

His last words... "I go forward now on wings built by the love and support of my family and friends. I go with a peace of mind that comes from never having taken a human life. I forgive those who have hardened their hearts to the truth and I pray they ask forgiveness for they know not what they do. This is not a death, it is a lynching."

Factoids: Gray was the...

45th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
989th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
5th murderer executed in Missouri in 2005
66th murderer executed in Missouri since 1976

Gray's advocates and opponents of the death penalty have argued that the 38-year-old was not on the bridge when the girls were pushed to their deaths. There were 67 opponents and 4 in favor of the death penalty outside the prison.