Saturday, October 20, 2007

July 26, 2007

Last Meal: Grayson had a final meal request of an egg and cheese omelette and fresh sliced tomatoes.

The skinny: Grayson was executed for killing an 86-year-old woman in 1980.

More skinny: The body of the 86-year old victim was found by her son on Christmas Eve 1980. She lived alone and had been severely beaten and raped.

Police found a trail of playing cards leading from the victim’s home to the home of Victor Kennedy, a known burglar. Knowing that Kennedy and Grayson had been seen together the previous night, they eventually found Grayson hiding in bushes near his home. Jewelry from the home was found in his wallet.

On at least three instances, Grayson admitted to police that he had planned with Kennedy for a couple of weeks to rob the woman to get money for Christmas. They broke into her house, found her alone in bed, taped a pillowcase over her head, raped her repeatedly and beat her, demanding to know where the valuables were kept.

Grayson also testified at trial and said later that he was too drunk to remember what happened.

Investigators found Grayson's blood-splattered shirt hidden under a rock near his home. The blood stains matched the victim's blood type.

Kennedy was also convicted of capital murder in a separate trial and was executed in 1999.

Leading up to: Anti-death penalty groups appealed to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley for a stay of execution until DNA testing could be done. They said the state only provided Grayson's original lawyer, Richard Bell, with $500 to hire experts and conduct the defense.

But Riley rejected a plea for DNA testing and said in a statement on Wednesday that "no new evidence has come to light that would warrant either a reprieve or a commutation." "DNA testing would not exonerate him even if there is no DNA evidence that he raped Mrs. Orr. Non-DNA evidence of the convicted murderer's guilt ... is abundant," Riley said.

"The killer's own numerous confessions, his own trial testimony where he himself admitted guilt and the overwhelming physical evidence, left a jury no doubt he perpetrated a cruel and monstrous crime upon a helpless elderly woman," he said.

The day of: As the execution hour approached Thursday, Grayson read two newspapers and his mail and watched TV, requesting a last meal of egg and cheese omelet with fresh sliced tomatoes. He met with his spiritual adviser, his sister, two nephews and two nieces, and three attorneys. His mood was described by prison officials as good, laughing and talking with staff. He spent most of his time, however, on the telephone brought to his cell. In a will, he left his few possessions, including a radio and TV, to four fellow inmates.

Last words and such: During his execution, Grayson raised his head to look at Esther Brown, an anti-death penalty activist who had become his friend, and smiled. "I love you," she mouthed, and he answered in kind. Asked by the warden if he had a statement, he answered, "Peace" and smiled again.

As witnesses were escorted out of the witness rooms, Brown stood and said, under her breath, "Bloody murderers."

Factoids: Grayson was the...

32nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1089th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Alabama in 2007
37th murderer executed in Alabama since 1976