Monday, December 12, 2005

December 2, 2005


Last Meal: Boyd requested a medium-well New York strip steak, a baked potato with sour cream, a roll with butter, a salad with ranch dressing and a Pepsi. Officials said he was pleased with his last meal.

The skinny: Boyd was executed for gunning down his estranged wife and father-in-law 17 years ago

More skinny: Boyd and his wife had an extremely stormy marriage for 13 years before she left and moved herself and her children in with her father. Boyd repeatedly stalked her, once handing one of their sons a bullet and a note to give his mother that said the bullet was intended for her.

On March 4, 1988 Boyd drove around with his boys, telling them that he was going to go and kill everyone at his father-in-law's home. When they arrived, he entered the home and shot and killed both his wife and her father with a .357 Magnum pistol. One of the woman's sons was pinned under his mother's body as Boyd continued to fired at her. The child scrambled out from beneath his mom's body and wriggled under a nearby bed to escape the hail of bullets.

When Boyd tried to reload the pistol, another son tried to grab it. Boyd went to the car, reloaded his gun, came back into the house and called 911, telling the emergency operator, "I've shot my wife and her father - come on and get me." Then more gunshots can be heard on the 911 recording. Law enforcement officers arrived and as they approached, Boyd came out of the nearby woods with his hands up and surrendered to the officers. Later, after being advised of his rights, Boyd gave a lengthy confession

The whole 1.000th thing: Boyd, 57, did not deny the killings. But he said he thought he should be sentenced to life in prison, and he didn't like the milestone his death would mark. "I'd hate to be remembered as that," Boyd told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I don't like the idea of being picked as a number."

The Supreme Court in 1976 ruled that capital punishment could resume after a 10-year moratorium. The first execution took place the following year, when Gary Gilmore went before a firing squad in Utah. Gilmore donated his eyes for transplant, inspiring a British punk rock song.

Almost 1,500 people died at the hands of the inmates executed during the past 28 years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Boyd's attorney Thomas Maher, said the "execution of Kenneth Boyd has not made this a better or safer world. If this 1,000th execution is a milestone, it's a milestone we should all be ashamed of. In Boyd's pleas for clemency, his attorneys said he served in Vietnam where he operated a bulldozer and was shot at by snipers daily, which contributed to his crimes.

Last words and such: In the execution chamber, Boyd smiled at daughter-in-law Kathy Smith -- wife of a son from Boyd's first marriage -- and a minister from his home county. He asked Smith to take care of his son and two grandchildren and she mouthed through the thick glass panes separating execution and witness rooms that her husband was waiting outside. In his final words, Boyd said: "God bless everybody in here."

Factoids: Boyd was the...

56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
1000th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
5th murderer executed in North Carolina in 2005
39th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

One press account...Boyd's death rallied death penalty opponents, and about 150 protesters gathered outside the prison.


Another press account:

As the 2 a.m. death hour approached, hundreds of death penalty opponents protested outside the prison.

One held a large white cross. Another held a large yellow peace sign. At the end of the sidewalk stood a hangman's gallows. At 11:27 p.m., about 20 protesters tried to get to the prison to stop the execution. The group dashed past the line of officers standing guard at the top of the prison's driveway. A few got as far as 15 feet down the driveway. As police stopped them, other protesters clapped, cheered and sang "We Shall Overcome." (Ed. Note: Please, please find a new song) Police soon handcuffed the arrestees and loaded them into a bus and a police van.


About 100 death-penalty opponents gathered on a sidewalk outside the prison where they held candles and read the names of the other 999 convicts who have been put to death.

Thirty-eight of the 50 U.S. states and the federal government permit capital punishment.

Singapore, which has the world's highest execution rate relative to population, also carried out a death penalty on Friday. The hanging of Australian drugs trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van went ahead despite repeated Australian government pleas for clemency.

An October 2005 Gallup poll found that 64 percent of all Americans support capital punishment in murder cases.