Sunday, July 13, 2008

May 21, 20008

...Chronological Sequence of Events of Execution...

Last Meal: Berry had a final meal request of barbecue pork chops, barbecue pork sausages, buttered toast, salad (heavy on the onion), mashed potatoes and gravy, pecan pie, and any juice. For breakfast he had two biscuits, sausage, rice and coffee.

The skinny: Berry was executed for the beating murder of a 56-year old woman in 1987.

More skinny:The victim was reported missing. A few days later her vehicle was located in Houston, Mississippi. Inspection of the vehicle revealed spattered blood around the driver’s side door. Her body was found nearby. She had been severely beaten.

It was later determined that she died of head injuries from repeated blows.

Berry’s confession provided the details of what transpired. On the evening of November 29, 1987, while driving through Houston in his grandmother’s vehicle, Berry saw the woman near a church. As she was preparing to enter her vehicle, he approached and forced her into his vehicle, ultimately driving to a wooded area out of town. The woman pleaded with Berry, but he beat her with his fists and forearm. Afterwards, he carried her further into the woods and left her.

Berry drove to his grandmother’s house, disposing of a pair of mismatched tennis shoes along the way. At his grandmother’s house, he burned his bloodied clothes and wiped the vehicle he had used of any blood stains with a towel, which he threw into a nearby pond.

Berry's brother called the police after he witnessed suspicious behavior. Berry was arrested at his grandmother’s home and soon confessed to the crime. Police found the mismatched tennis shoes Berry had discarded in a pond, along with bloodied towel.

The day of: Berry's had an execution scheduled for October 2007. It was halted just 19 minutes before he was to die.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Epps said he stood in front Berry's cell this afternoon and said, "Inmate Berry do you have any remorse for what you did? "He said he had no remorse and felt that after 21 years he had paid for it," Epps continued. "He understood the question and that was the answer he gave."

Berry finished his last meal about 4:35 p.m. and was given a sedative. He elected not to take his last shower and has not made any phone calls today. However, his mother, brother, sister-in-law and two friends visited him earlier today.

Last words and such: Berry, who wore red pants, a white T-shirt and socks, was strapped to a metal table. When asked if he had any final words, Berry replied, "No comment. It's in God's hands now."

Factoids: Berry was the...

2nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2008
1101st murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Mississippi in 2008
9th murderer executed in Mississippi since 1976

Half a dozen anti-death penalty and one pro-death penalty activist were at Parchman.

Contents of Syringes for Lethal Injection
•Anesthetic - Sodium Pentothal – 2.0 Gm.
•Normal Saline – 10-15 cc.
•Pavulon – 50 mgm per 50 cc.
•Potassium chloride – 50 milequiv. per 50 cc.

Chronological Sequence of Events of Execution
48 Hours Prior to Execution The condemned inmate shall be transferred to a holding cell adjacent to the execution room.
24 Hours Prior to Execution Institution is placed in emergency/lockdown status.
1200 Hours Day of Execution Designated media center at institution opens.
1500 Hours Day of Execution Inmate’s attorney of record and chaplain allowed to visit.
1600 Hours Day of Execution Inmate is served last meal and allowed to shower.
1630 Hours Day of Execution MDOC clergy allowed to visit upon request of inmate.
1730 Hours Day of Execution Witnesses are transported to Unit 17.
1800 Hours Day of Execution Inmate is escorted from holding cell to execution room.
Witnesses are escorted into observation room.
1900 Hours Day of Execution A post execution briefing is conducted with media witnesses.
2030 Hours Day of Execution Designated media center at institution is closed.

Death Row Executions
Since Mississippi joined the Union in 1817, several forms of execution have been used. Hanging was the first form of execution used in Mississippi. The state continued to execute prisoners sentenced to die by hanging until October 11, 1940, when Hilton Fortenberry, convicted of capital murder in Jefferson Davis County, became the first prisoner to be executed in the electric chair. Between 1940 and February 5, 1952, the old oak electric chair was moved from county to county to conduct executions.

During the 12-year span, 75 prisoners were executed for offenses punishable by death. In 1954, the gas chamber was installed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, in Parchman, Miss. It replaced the electric chair, which today is on display at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy. Gearald A. Gallego became the first prisoner to be executed by lethal gas on March 3, 1955. During the course of the next 34 years, 35 death row inmates were executed in the gas chamber. Leo Edwards became the last person to be executed in the gas chamber at the Mississippi State Penitentiary on June 21, 1989.

On July 1, 1984, the Mississippi Legislature partially amended lethal gas as the state’s form of execution in § 99-19-51 of the Mississippi Code. The new amendment provided that individuals who committed capital punishment crimes after the effective date of the new law and who were subsequently sentenced to death thereafter would be executed by lethal injection. On March 18, 1998, the Mississippi Legislature amended the manner of execution by removing the provision lethal gas as a form of execution.