Sunday, July 08, 2007

June 15, 2007

...they held blue glowsticks given to them by the widow of the officer to represent the “thin blue line” he was on the night he was killed...

Last Meal: Lambert had no final request.

The skinny: Lambert, 36, was executed for shooting a police officer.

More skinny: Muncie police officers were dispatched to a traffic accident and observed an abandoned utility truck. The truck was towed and Lambert was found nearby crawling under a vehicle.

Lambert had spent most of the night getting drunk and after telling officers he was trying to sleep, was arrested for public intoxication. He was patted down and placed into the back of a police car driven by an officer for transport to jail. A few minutes later, the police vehicle was observed sliding off the road into a ditch. Lambert was still handcuffed in the backseat and the officer had been shot 5 times in the back of the head and neck. A .25 handgun was found laying on the floorboard. It was later learned that Lambert had stolen the .25 pistol from his employer.

The officer died 11 days later.

A demonstration/re-enactment video was introduced into evidence showing the manner in which a gun could be retrieved and fired while handcuffed. A statement by the defendant was admitted despite his .18 BAC.

A change in policy...When Michael Lambert was set to be executed two years ago, he agreed to let the brother of the police officer he fatally shot watch him die. That execution was stayed.

Since then, a change in Indiana law means he has no say over can watch his execution. It’s a change Lambert doesn’t like. “I don’t think anyone should be given that choice,” he said during an interview last week. “It’s not natural just to come in and watch someone die — not just die, but watch someone be killed. It’s not natural.”

The victim's brother, deputy chief of the Muncie Police Department, thought it was unfair he needed to ask Lambert for permission two years ago. “My brother is the victim here and it shouldn’t be up to him (Lambert).”

Lambert is the second person to be executed under the new law that gives up to eight spots to immediate family members of murder victims.

Last words and such: Lambert was cooperative with prison employees and did not offer any final statement.

Lambert had been given a kitten while on death row, which he left to his son. The kitten was three months old.

Factoids: Lambert was the...

23rd murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1080th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Indiana in 2007
19th murderer executed in Indiana since 1976

Some 25 anti-death penalty protesters carried signs and banged drums outside the prison’s main gate in the hours before the execution. The Rev. Tricia Teater, a Buddhist priest from Chicago, said she spent Thursday afternoon with Lambert, praying, mediating and chanting. “It is a very sad thing for this society to keep spinning the cycle of violence and creating more victims and more pain,” she told the protesters.

What had largely been a demonstration against capital punishment changed around 10 p.m. Sirens north of the prison interrupted the calm, signaling the arrival of those wishing to show their support for the victim. A caravan of about 30 sport-utility vehicles and marked and unmarked police cars, some with lights flashing, ushered in at least 70 people.

Most were either off-duty officers belonging to Indiana's Fraternal Order of Police or surviving family members of other officers killed in the line of duty. About a dozen were Muncie police officers in uniform.

As they awaited word of the execution, they held blue glowsticks given to them by the widow of the officer to represent the “thin blue line” he was on the night he was killed. As the execution neared, the crowd formed a line along the prison's wrought iron fence, holding the glow sticks in outstretched arms toward the prison.