Thursday, December 01, 2005

November 18, 1005

Last Meal: Syriani had no final meal request.

The skinny: Syriani, a 67-year-old immigrant who stabbed his wife to death with a screwdriver after she threatened divorce was executed by injection.

More skinny: Syriani and his wife were separated. Syriani was living in a motel, and his wife with their children in their home. One night shortly before midnight, Syriani drove to their home. As his wife drove her car onto a nearby street, Syriani blocked her way with his van. He got out of his van, gestured, and chased after her car as she put it in reverse. As his wife sat in her car, he began stabbing her with a screwdriver through the open door or window, while their ten-year-old son sat in the seat beside her.

The boy was unable to stop his father, got out and ran home to get his older sister. At least two neighbors watched from their homes as dSyriani stabbed his wife and then walked away. The wife died twenty-eight days later. She suffered numerous stab wounds in the attack, the fatal wound a three-inch deep puncture wound to the right temple. Syriani stopped at a nearby fire station for first aid, claiming he was battered by his wife. He was covered in blood, but had only some light scratches on his arm and shoulder. Police were called and he was arrested. The murder weapon, a screwdriver, was never found.

Leading up to: Syriani visited and hugged his children beforehand after 15 years locked away from their touch. The children - including the son who witnessed the attack and testified against Syriani - argued that letting him live would allow them to restore their connection to their mother.

Russ Sizemore, a lawyer representing the children, said it was "incomprehensible" that Easley denied clemency after hearing from Rose, Janet and John Syriani and Sarah Barbari, who had been raised by their aunt and uncle in Chicago after their mother died.

Last words and such: (Prepared Statement: "I want to thank God first for everything that happened in my life. I want to thank my children. I want to thank my family, especially my sister, Odeet. I want to thank all the beautiful friends who share with me my sufferings for 15 years and four months and they so encouraged me, specifically Mr. and Mrs. Meg Eggleston who become a sister to me. She helped me a lot to accept everything. I thank everyone from the staff, nurses, chaplains. I thank everyone.")

"I love you," he said to the Egglestons. "I love everybody." Over the next 10 minutes he smiled, grimaced, cried. Mostly he talked to the Egglestons. He mouthed each word carefully. We could pick up only fragments. "I want them to be happy." "Fifteen years." "I hope ... I hope ... I really loved her."

Factoids: Syriani ws the....

53rd murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
997th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in North Carolina in 2005
38th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

Gov. Mike Easley denied clemency Thursday.

Nationally, clemency was granted 186 times - including 167 commutations by the Illinois governor in 2003 - between 2001 and 2005, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.