Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 15, 2009

...the victim was three months away from a Computer Science degree at the time of her killing....

Last Meal: Callahan had a last meal request of two corn dogs with ketchup and mustard and a Coke.

The skinny: Callahan, 62, was executed for the 1982 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 26-year-old Jacksonville State University student.

Callahan had been on death row for nearly 26 years.

More skinny: On February 3, 1982, around 11:00 p.m., the victim met her fiancé, at the club where he was performing with his band in Jacksonville, Alabama. The victim, 26, went across the street to do laundry. She was supposed to return to the club, but when the band finished playing at 1:30 a.m., she had still not returned.

The fiancé became worried and went to the laundry to look for her. He found her car, her school books, her laundry, and her jacket, but he did not find her. He called the police. The officers searched the area and discovered a roll of gray duct tape and a pair of men’s blue jeans in the vicinity of her car but found no other evidence of her whereabouts.

She had been abducted by Callahan.

According to trial records, Callahan locked her in his trailer home and raped her. She died from suffocation. Her body, thrown from a bridge, was found weeks later in a creek, her hands bound together with duct tape.

Callahan claimed the woman ran into the creek.

The victim was three months away from a Computer Science degree at the time of her killing.

The Supremes: Earlier in the afternoon, Callahan's plea to the Supreme Court was rejected, clearing the way for his execution.

Almost a year ago, the high court granted a reprieve only an hour before his scheduled execution. This time the justices rejected the motion about two hours before the lethal injection.

Leading up to: Prison officials said Callahan met Thursday with family members, friends and a spiritual adviser and received communion at 4:30 p.m.

Callahan prepared a will bequeathing to his son $36.42 from his prison account, a black and white Radio Shack TV, two watches, a Walkman, some headphones, a leather belt, two pairs of boots, one pair of Nike tennis shoes, food items and legal papers.

Last words and such: Shortly after 6 p.m. Chaplain Chris Summers knelt alongside Callahan who was strapped to a gurney in the execution chamber. Summers took Callahan's left hand in his own and said a short prayer.

In his final moments, Callahan waved his left hand toward his son who was seated in a witness room. He asked his son to take care of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"I love you. That's all I have to say," Callahan said, looking directly at his son. Callahan never looked toward the victim's family members who were seated in a separate viewing room, but told his son, "I have a lot of remorse that I can't be here for you."

Factoids: Callahan was the...

2nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2009
1138th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Alabama in 2009
39th murderer executed in Alabama since 1976

Callahan is one of five Alabama inmates set for lethal injection in the first five months of this year, an unusual group of executions for Alabama, which had none in 2008 while courts handled challenges to lethal injection and upheld it as a method of execution.

Currently, Alabama has 206 death row inmates, including four women.