52 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Victims' Families whom justice was served in the U.S.A (1992 to 2002)

After the execution, Vicki Haack said that her family had forgiven Harris. "We have no hate or bitterness in our hearts," she said. "But that doesn't mean he does not pay for his crime."

Vicki Haack whose sister, Lisa was murdered by Kenneth B. Harris in 1986. He was executed by the State of Texas on 3 June 1997.

CASE: On June 30, 1994, Michael Clagett and his girlfriend, Denise Holsinger, carried out the robbery and slayings of Lam Van Son, Wendell Parish, Karen Sue Rounds, and Abdelaziz Gren at the Witchduck Inn in Virginia Beach. The owner's 5-year-old son, asleep in a back room, was unharmed. The evidence at trial showed that Holsinger engineered the crime about a month after she was fired from a job at the Inn and that she urged Clagett to fire the shots while she emptied the tavern's cash register of about $400. Holsinger received 5 life sentences plus 23 years for her role in the crimes. 7/8/00 - Shortly after landing on death row, executed Witchduck Inn killer Michael Clagett quietly married his 1st cousin in a jailhouse wedding ceremony, court records show. The marriage was a secret Karen Elaine Sparks desperately sought to keep from her family. Reached at her Columbus, Ohio, home Friday, hours after returning from her husband's execution, Sparks, 41, said she told only four people about the 1996 marriage for fear of reprisals from family members and co-workers. ``I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't true, if our love wasn't true,'' Sparks said when asked why she married Clagett, a quadruple murderer. ``I can't explain it. There's just no way to put it into words." Clagett and his then-girlfriend, Denise Holsinger, robbed the Virginia Beach bar of $400 on June 30, 1994. Clagett confessed to shooting 4 people in the head that night and died at age 39 in Virginia's electric chair Thursday. Holsinger, 35, is serving 5 life terms.

Sparks downplayed the significance of marrying a first cousin by saying that Clagett's father and her mother "barely knew each other. They were born 14 years apart. She also said they never consummated the marriage. Prison policy forbids conjugal visits. Virginia law does not prohibit 1st cousins from marrying. The state prohibits marriages between brothers and sisters; aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews; and ``ancestors and descendants." Sparks, who said she has worked for Time-Warner for 22 years, had twice been married before, court records show. Sparks said she told only 2 close friends, a sister and Clagett's mother -- her aunt and mother-in-law -- about the marriage. ``When I first brought the subject up with my family, when I told them we were thinking about it,'' she said, "they just went off." Sparks' marriage came to light Thursday, when Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said Clagett had been visited by his mother, Iris M. Etter, and his wife. News of the marriage stunned Karen's father, Maurice Sparks Jr., who said he talked to his daughter just two weeks ago and was aware that she was accompanying Etter to the execution. He said he had no idea why she would marry Clagett. "That's a good question," he said, his voice trembling. ``I don't know what she's doing." Karen Sparks and Etter spent 2 hours with Clagett on Thursday before prison officials made them leave at 3 p.m. Reached at her Galloway, Ohio, home Friday, Etter declined to say whether she knew that Sparks was her son's 1st cousin. Etter said only that it was wrong for the state to kill her son and that his ashes had been returned to her after his autopsy. ``It was a very sad thing to me," Etter said. "I think they did a terrible thing. I think Michael would have made a really good person to go around to the prisons and talk to people."

Witnesses in the viewing room with the victims' families said they stood silently through the electrocution, except for one woman, who began to cry. Some family members were relieved. Others said the execution did nothing to ease their pain. Jim Garcia, brother-in-law of Abdelaziz "Aziz" Gren, a patron of the Witchduck Inn who was slain by Clagett, watched Clagett die. As soon as Clagett was pronounced dead, ``all the anger that built up all these years went away,'' Garcia said. "Suddenly I wasn't angry anymore." His wife, Gren's sister Fatna ``Fouzia'' Garcia, feels differently. "It doesn't bring Aziz back,'' she said. ``It doesn't bring any one of them back."

Another sister of Gren's, Khadija Johnson, thought she was going to faint during the electrocution. She felt better later: "It helped me to be there. It helped me to see what I saw. For me it is a sense of relief. So much changed. I do not feel the way I did yesterday."

Families of Michael David Clagett’s victims - Michael David Clagett murdered them at the Witchduck Inn in Virginia Beach on 30 June 1994. He was executed by the electric chair in Virginia on 6 July 2000.

She said she opposed the death penalty--until the bombing. She fears McVeigh would attract a following of extremists in jail and end up orchestrating the killing of others, so she wants him executed. But she's trying not to hate him. "Hatred is a sickness," she says, the proof being what it drove McVeigh to do in the first place. "That's why our loved ones died. I won't put myself on Timothy McVeigh's level." She says she hasn't forgiven McVeigh yet, but, for her own sake, she's trying.

Jannie Coverdale lost her two grandsons, Aaron, 5, and Elijah, 2, in the Oklahoma bombing.

Summary: Sometime in May or June 1978, Robert, then aged 25, asked his brother Daniel, 18, for help in planning a bank robbery. On July 2, Daniel stole two guns from a neighbor's house in Visalia, California, and the two drove to San Diego that night. They spent the next two days purchasing ammunition and practicing the robbery in a rural area near Miramar Lake.


On July 5, the Harris brothers happened upon John Mayeski and Michael Baker, both 16, sitting in a green Ford LTD eating hamburgers in a supermarket parking lot in Mira Mesa. Mayeski and Baker were best friends who had planned to spend the day fishing to celebrate Mayeski's newly acquired driver's license. Robert Harris commandeered Mayeski's car and ordered him to drive to Miramar Lake, with Daniel Harris following in another vehicle. Robert Harris told the boys that they would be using the vehicle to rob a bank, but that no one would be hurt. At Miramar Lake, the Harris brothers ordered the boys to walk away from the vehicle. While they were walking, Robert shot both boys multiple times. The Harris brothers then returned to Robert's Mira Mesa home and finished the victims' half-eaten hamburgers while Robert boasted about the killings.

About an hour later, the Harris brothers robbed the Mira Mesa branch of the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank located across the street from where they had abducted Mayeski and Baker, and fled with about $2,000. A witness to the robbery followed the Harrises to their home and notified police. The Harris brothers were arrested less than an hour after the robbery. One of the officers who apprehended the Harris brothers was Steven Baker, father of victim Michael Baker, who at the time was unaware that his son had been killed, let alone by one of the men he was arresting.


Tuesday 4 September 2012 - Even after 20 years, Mankins has no regrets about watching Robert Alton Harris die by cyanide gas for the 1978 murders of her 16-year-old son, Michael Baker, and his friend John Mayeski.


"We saw justice served," the 69-year-old Southern California woman said in an interview last month. "It took a long time, but it helped us all.


"I think it helped the whole family." 

Sharron Mankins whose son, Michael Baker and his friend, John Mayeski was murdered by Robert Alton Harris on 5 July 1978. Robert Alton Harris (January 15, 1953 – April 21, 1992) was an American criminal and murderer who was executed at San Quentin State Prison in 1992 in conjunction with the 1978 murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967. Harris was born in North Carolina and was abused as a child. He had run-ins with law enforcement as early as age 10, and was first placed into juvenile detention at age 13 for stealing a car. His mother abandoned him at age 14 and soon after he was again placed into juvenile detention after stealing another car. Following his release he found work, married, and had a son, but in 1975 he was imprisoned for manslaughter; he was paroled in January 1978. On July 5, 1978, Harris and his younger brother commandeered a car occupied by two 16-year-old boys, ordered them to drive to a remote area, then killed them. The brothers then drove the boys' car to a San Diego bank, robbed it, and used it as their getaway car. Harris was arrested less than an hour after the robbery and charged with murder, auto theft, kidnapping, burglary, and bank robbery. He was convicted and sentenced to death on March 6, 1979. After a series of appeals and stays of execution, Harris was executed in San Quentin's gas chamber on April 21, 1992.

CASE: On Jan. 7, 1965, Robert Massie murdered Mildred Weiss, a mother of two married to a furniture store owner. Massie shot Weiss, 48, outside her San Gabriel home during a botched follow-home robbery. He received a stay of execution 16 hours before he was to enter the gas chamber, even though he had urged officials to carry out the sentence. Then-Gov. Ronald Reagan stayed the execution so that Massie could testify in the trial of his alleged accomplice. After testifying, he returned to prison and remained there when the California Supreme Court temporarily banned executions. Massie's death sentence was commuted to life in prison when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled capital punishment unconstitutional in 1972.


He was paroled and set free in 1978. But 8 months later he was arrested for the murder of grocery store owner Boris Naumoff during a robbery attempt. Chuck Harris, a clerk at Naumoff's liquor store who was hit by one of Massie's bullets, survived with a leg wound. After receiving a death sentence for that crime, Massie spurned appeals on his behalf and once again asked to be executed. The state Supreme Court, however, threw out his conviction on grounds he pleaded guilty over the objections of his lawyers. Massie was retried and again sentenced to die for Naumoff's killing in a 1989 retrial. Earlier this year Massie withdrew his federal appeal and instructed his lawyers not to make any further efforts to save his life, clearing the way for his long-desired execution. In his petition to end his appeals, Massie said that he would rather die than continue living on death row in San Quentin. He said life on death row is a "lingering death." Even if his death sentence is reversed or commuted by an appeal, he would remain in prison for the rest of his life for shooting Boris Naumoff to death at a San Francisco liquor store. That is why he said he wants a "swift execution." California's condemned inmates are more likely to die of old age or illness than by execution. More than 100 inmates have been on death row for more than 15 years.


In recent days, death penalty opponents tried a flurry of last-ditch efforts to save Massie. They argued in state and federal courts that Massie had long been racked by depression and other mental illness, a fact they claim was not argued strongly enough throughout Massie's time in prison. They also said Frederick Baker, a corporate lawyer who represented Massie, had abdicated his responsibility by seeking to pave the way for Massie's execution. The late moves angered both Massie and the prosecutors who had sought his execution for years. "I just find it curious that we are suddenly hearing from attorneys who have never met Massie and weren't at any of his hearings in which a judge found him competent, that he knows what he is doing," said Deputy Atty. Gen. Bruce Ortega. "I just don't understand why they are not respecting his opinion." "The hurt for my family will never stop," said Rick Naumoff, the son of one of Massie's victims. "We continue to deal with the loss of a husband, a father, a grandfather."


Many of the witnesses held hands and watched intently as the guards went about their work before the execution. One man bowed his head, looked up after Massie died, and smiled.


"I'm glad this is done," said Menck Rickman, Naumoff's grandson. "This ruined our family. It ripped us apart."


Rickman said Massie's execution was the first time some of the relatives had seen each other in 22 years.


"Hopefully, I'll get my family back," Rickman said.

Massie's Time in Jail, From 1965 Through 2001

-- 1965: Massie shoots Mildred Weiss to death during a robbery in front of her San Gabriel home.

He pleads guilty and is sentenced to die.

-- 1967: He comes within 16 hours of being put to death in the gas chamber. But Gov. Ronald Reagan grants him a reprieve to testify at the trial of his co- defendant.

-- 1972: His death sentence is commuted to life in prison after the California Supreme Court declares the death penalty unconstitutional.

-- 1978: Massie is released on parole and becomes a law clerk for a San Francisco attorney.

-- 1979: Massie shoots to death Boris "Bob" Naumoff, owner of Miraloma Liquor, during a robbery at the Twin Peaks store.

He pleads guilty and is sentenced to die.

-- 1985: After his case is automatically appealed to the California Supreme Court, the justices overturn his conviction and death sentence. The court rules that he cannot plead guilty over the objections of his trial attorney.

-- 1989: Massie is retried and a jury finds him guilty of the robbery and murder of Naumoff. He is sentenced to die.

-- 1998: The California Supreme Court upholds his conviction and death sentence.

-- October 2000: Massie says he wants to drop his appeals in federal court and be put to death.

-- March 27, 2001: Massie dies by lethal injection.

Naumoff's son, Rick, said Massie's death will allow the family to finally put the murder behind them.


"This execution marks an end to a sad and tragic chapter," the son said. "This execution corrects a wrong."

Family members of Boris G. Naumoff - He was murdered by Robert Lee Massie on 3 January 1979. Robert Lee Massie was executed by lethal injection in California on 27 March 2001.

CASE: On August 30, 1987, Parsons was hitchhiking along the Interstate 15 near Barstow, California. He was picked up by 30-year-old Richard Lynn Ernest, a concrete laborer from Loma Linda, California on his way to a construction job in Denver, Colorado. Ernest did not know that Parsons was a fugitive. At about 3 a.m. on August 31, Ernest was too tired to drive and stopped at the Lunt Park rest area near Cedar City, Utah to get some sleep. Parsons stabbed Ernest to death and drove off in his blue Dodge Omni. At about 5 a.m., Parsons stopped at a Texaco service station 23 miles to the north. He was wearing Ernest's clothes and had assumed his identity. Parsons told the station attendant he needed to hose out red construction paint from the car's interior and offered to give him Ernest's construction tools. The attendant said that he observed Parsons throwing away clothing, books, posters and carpentry tools into a dumpster. Parsons asked the attendant about the distance to Denver and spoke of Ernest's 9-year-old son as his own. He purchased cigarettes and food with Ernest's MasterCharge credit card before leaving. At 7:23 a.m., Parsons used the credit card to check into a Quality Inn at Richfield, Utah. He used the card again at about 10 a.m. to purchase seat covers and floor mats from Kmart to cover up the blood stains in the car. A clerk called the Richfield Police Department after Parsons attempted to purchase $300 worth of items at 12:34 p.m. and the credit card was found to be over its limit. The attendant back at the Texaco station called the Beaver County Sheriff's Office after discovering bloody items in the dumpster. Deputy Raymond Goodwin found Ernest's bank statement and Parsons' bloody clothes in the dumpster. After calling Ernest's wife Beverley, the officers concluded that the person who visited the service station was not Richard Ernest. At about 4:25 p.m. on August 31, a Utah Highway Patrol officer found Parsons sleeping in Ernest's car at the Red Creek rest area on the Interstate 70, west of Salina, Utah. When Parsons was brought into the Richfield police station where the bloody clothes were gathered, he continued to insist that he was Ernest. When officers asked for his street address, Parsons asked for a lawyer. Sheriff Kenneth Yardley recalled that Parsons asked if he could keep his book to read. On September 1, 1987, Ernest's body was discovered underneath a sleeping bag dumped on the east side of the Interstate 15, about a mile north of the rest area where he had been killed. He had been stabbed nine times, including in the heart and throat.

Salais, who continues to live in San Antonio where her brother was from, said she plans to watch Parsons die.

"I think my brother would have been there if it had been me," Salais said. "With his death, his family will know how I have felt. I feel empathy for them, but it is still justice. There is a large part of me that will celebrate his passing because it is justice after all this time."

Salais, who spoke through her tears, said she is not excited at the coming execution but resolved that it will bring closure and bring peace to her brother.

"It is something I have to do. Once he is executed, I will know it is over. My brother can be at peace, and I can get on with my life."

Parsons became the fourth man in Utah to die by lethal injection since the U.S. Supreme Court's ban on executions was lifted in 1976.

His death came quickly, not only as he lay strapped to a tan gurney in front of about 25 witnesses but because he cut short his appeals, telling a U.S. magistrate this summer he wanted to die.

Today he got his death wish, and Beverley Ernest says she believes she will be able to close this ugly chapter in her life.

"I think our life as a family is solidifying," she said afterward. "I think this brings a sense of feeling it is over, of not having to worry about Parsons anymore."


Family members of Richard Lynn Ernest – He was murdered by Joseph Mitchell Parsons on 31 August 1987. Joseph Mitchell Parsons was executed by lethal injection in Utah on 15 October 1999.

Summary: Drug deal in mall parking lot. Hodges in front passenger seat of car driven by accomplice Tyrone Hyland. Hameen in back seat. When argument erupted about deal, Hameen shot Hodges at close range as he attempted to exit car. Hameen admitted shooting, but claimed that the beeper Hodges was reaching for was a gun, and he shot in self-defense. Hameen was on parole for a murder committed in 1980. Accomplice Hyland pled guilty to Murder 2d Degree and was sentenced to 15 years.

Ms. Hodges told a handful of reporters that the execution closed a painful chapter in her family's life. "The nightmare, this chapter, is over," she said. "I wanted to know he was paying the price. This should have happened 10 years ago. I needed to see this happen to make sure he was really dead," Hodges said. "I hope it sends a message to people that you can't kill 1, 2 or 3 times and expect to get away with it," she said, referring to the fact that Hameen killed a man at age 17 before killing Hodges in 1991.

Asked whether Hameen's last words brought her any comfort, Hodges replied, "It was meaningless to me. ... I felt comfort, not from what he said, but the act brought me some comfort. I hope this deters anybody who wants to commit a murder," she said. "We don't have to fear him anymore." 

Tara Hodges whose brother, Troy Hodges was murdered by Abdullah Tanzil Hameen a/k/a Cornelius Ferguson on 5 August 1991. Ferguson was executed by lethal injection in Delaware on 25 May 2001.

Summary: Walker was executed for the Dec. 30, 1988, stabbing deaths of 17-year-old Shelly Ellison and her uncle, 30-year-old Donald Gary Epperson. Walker was the estranged boyfriend of Shelley Ellison and the father of her 3-month old son, Joshua. Walker went to the Epperson home where Ellison was staying, but grew angry once inside the home in an argument over custody and attacked Ellison with a hunting knife. Donald Epperson came out of a bedroom to help her and began fighting with Walker. Ellison managed to dial 911 during the attack: "He's stabbing me. I'm dead. Please." When police arrived Ellison was dead. She had been stabbed 32 times, including several times with an ice pick. Donald Epperson suffered 11 stab wounds. Although he was conscious when police arrived at the home, he later died from his wounds. Ellison's grandmother, Juanita Epperson, was also wounded in the attack, suffering a broken arm and a stab wound after trying to stop Walker by hitting him with a pipe wrench. Walker was arrested at the scene. Joshua Ellison, the son of Walker and Shelly Ellison, who was three months old at the time of the murders, wrote a letter to the state Pardon and Parole Board in support of the execution.


Joshua Ellison, the son of Walker and Shelly Ellison, was three months old at the time of the murders. Now 13, Joshua Ellison wrote a letter to the state Pardon and Parole Board in support of Walker's execution. "Sometimes I think about what life would be like if my mom were alive, but then I come to my senses and realize that was destroyed by one man, Jack Walker," he wrote. "I think Jack Walker should pay for what he did to my mother. I think he should die for taking my mom away from me."

Seventeen of Ellison's and Epperson's family members witnessed the execution. Some said they regretted Walker's death was so peaceful when compared with the deaths of their family members. "The laws of Oklahoma would never allow for the type of death we would have chosen for Walker," said Kathy Ellison, the mother of one of Walker's victims and the sister of the other. "We believe if you live by the sword, you should die by the sword. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

Joshua Ellison whose mother, Shelly Deann Ellison was murdered by Jack Dale Walker on 30 December 1988. Jack Dale Walker was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 28 August 2001.

Summary: On March 27, 1991, Donna Ponsano was working as a cook at Cajun's Fabulous Fried Chicken in Baton Rouge. At 7:00 a.m., Keith Clark, the restaurant's manager, arrived to assist Ponsano in opening for business. Taylor, who had been fired by Clark about two weeks previously for poor performance, knocked at the front door. He and Clark were still friendly, so Clark allowed him inside. Taylor related that he was experiencing financial problems and asked Clark to rehire him. Clark refused, but assisted the defendant in searching for another job by giving him money to buy a newspaper and sitting with him in a restaurant booth to review classified job advertisements. Clark found that a local Popeye's restaurant was seeking a cook, and called to recommend the defendant for the job. Clark continued with his morning routine, and the defendant helped by sweeping the dining area of the restaurant. As Clark was placing money into the cash registers, the defendant decided that robbery was the solution to his financial problems. He exited the restaurant to retrieve a .22 caliber handgun and handcuffs from his car which was parked in front. Upon reentering the restaurant, Taylor grabbed Ponsano, held the gun to her head and demanded that Clark open the restaurant's floor safe. He then handcuffed Clark and Ponsano together. Clark opened the safe, and gave the defendant its contents, approximately $800.00. Clark offered to loan or give the defendant a personal check. Taylor refused the offer and instructed Clark not to inform the police about the robbery. After Clark told the defendant that he would not lie to the police, the defendant again asked Clark to rehire him. Ponsano expressed her opposition to rehiring the defendant, and Clark agreed. The defendant then shot Ponsano five times in the head and upper forearm. After emptying the gun, he exited the room, reloaded and returned to shoot Clark in the head. He then emptied the cash register of approximately $580.00, got into his car and drove away. Another employee arriving for work recognized Taylor's car, saw Taylor inside, and heard shots. When the police arrived at the scene they found Ponsano and Clark lying in the storeroom handcuffed together, each with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Ponsano died two days later. Clark survived, but suffers with paralysis and minor brain damage. Upon arrest, Taylor gave a full confession, led the police to the stolen money, and informed the police that he had thrown the murder weapon into the Mississippi River.


Clark and Ponsano's sister Lisa Allen were among execution witnesses. Both refused to talk to reporters before the execution, but after the hearing Tuesday, Allen said Taylor's death would give her closure. "After 9 years, I'm going to be OK," she said. "I'm just glad it's going to be finally over. He has gotten away so many times."

Lisa Allen whose sister, Donna Ponsano was murdered by Feltus Taylor on 27 March 1991. Feltus Taylor was executed by lethal injection on 6 June 2000 in Louisiana.

Summary: On August 20, 1985, the disappearance of Nancy Rose Lee McKinney, 37, was reported by her mother. James Glenn Robedeaux, 36, the woman’s boyfriend, was arrested on the morning of November 15, 1985, although her body had not been found. The charge alleged he beat the woman to death in Oklahoma City on or about September 17, 1985. The charge was based on stains found on the carpet, on Robedeaux’s jeans, and the seat cover of his pickup, which were identified as the same blood type A as McKinney. A left leg was found on December 28, 1985, by two boys while they were playing in a creek near Wellston. On February 3, 1986, a skull was found in a rural yard where it had apparently been dragged by a dog. The state medical examiner’s office identified the skull as McKinney’s by comparing X-rays. An arm was found on February 15, 1986. No other body parts were found. During a preliminary hearing in February 1986, Lisa Gail Austin testified that Robedeaux had told her about Nancy. She said he told her that he killed her and buried her and that he cut her up. A sheriff’s deputy testified that Robedeaux said he suffered a split lip and McKinney bled heavily after he did a pretty good number on her face.

In November 1978, Robedeaux plead guilty to strangling to death his first wife, Linda Sue Robedeaux in March 1978. He was sentenced on a second degree murder conviction and given a sentence of 25 years in prison with 15 years suspended. In February 1983, he also received an additional year in prison for escaping when he failed to return to Oklahoma City Community Treatment Center on July 27, 1982. He was released in September 1984. On November 19, 1985, he was charged with attempting to kill his second wife, Doris M. Robedeaux, by choking her. Doris Robedeaux told police that she and her husband were separated, but she went to meet him after he said that he wanted to try to get back together. Doris Robedeaux suffered a broken nose and fractured eye socket during that beating. The jury was not told of this history at trial.

E.J. McKinney, the victim's brother, said he has forgiven Robedeaux. "I can't really say I'm happy to see him die, but justice was carried out," he said.

E.J. McKinney whose sister, Nancy Rose Lee McKinney was murdered by James Glenn Robedeaux on 22 September 1985. James Glenn Robedeaux was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 1 June 2000.


Summary: Smith, 61, was convicted of the July 4, 1982 murder of 21-year-old Cindy Baillee in Gans. Baillee was the former girlfriend of Smith's son, Greg. Smith, along with her son and another woman, picked up Baillee from a Tahlequah motel early on the morning of the murder. As they drove away from the motel, Smith confronted Baillee about rumors that Baillee had arranged for Greg Smith's murder - charges which Baillee denied. Smith choked Baillee and stabbed her in the throat as they drove to the home of Smith's ex-husband in Gans. At the house, Smith forced Baillee to sit in a recliner and taunted her with a pistol, finally firing several shots. Baillee fell to the floor, and while her son reloaded the pistol, Smith laughed and jumped on Baillee's neck. She then fired four shots into Baillee's chest and two to the back of her head. An autopsy revealed nine gunshot wounds to Baillee's body.


Cindy Baillie's daughter, Brandy Fields, 24, witnessed the execution with her husband, a sister and a family friend. "You do something of this magnitude, torturing somebody, you're going to have to pay the price for it," she said. "She chose her path in life.”

"I'm glad it's over. It's been a long time," said Baillie's daughter, Brandy Fields.

Brandy Fields whose mother, Cindy Baillie was murdered by Lois Nadean Smith on 4 July 1982. Lois Nadean Smith was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 4 December 2001.

Summary: Rich sexually assaulted and killed several young women in the Redding area between June and August 1978 and became known as the "Hilltop Rapist." He was convicted and sentenced to death for 3 counts of First Degree Murder: Annette Fay Edwards, 19, was beaten to death with a rock after Rich attempted to have sex with her; Linda Diane Slavik, 26, was driven by Rich to his house in Cottonwood. She was raped there and then driven to a remote area where she was shot and killed. Just before she was killed, she was shown the dead body of Patricia Ann Moore, who had been killed at the same remote location; Annette Lynn Selix, 11, was driven by Rich to his Cottonwood house where he committed acts of rape, and sodomy. He then drove her 30 miles to Johns Creek Bridge and threw her 105 feet to the rocks below. An autopsy determined that she had been alive at the time he threw her off the bridge and that she survived for a time after landing on the rocky area. Rich was also convicted of Murder in the Second Degree: Patricia Ann Moore, 17, was driven to a remote area by Rich, where she was raped and then beaten to death with a rock. Rich was also convicted of sexual assaults on four other women and an attempted sexual assault on a fifth. Rich told a friend he had "found" a dead body. The friend informed police, who questioned Rich. After flunking a polygraph test, Rich confessed to each of the crimes.

"I'm just glad it has come to this and that it's finally going to be over," the girl's mother, Sharon Tidwell, said. Annette's stepfather David Tidwell, said, "We're wasting time -- just kill him. He better pray there's not a life after death -- if there is, he better hide."

But the meek fashion in which he met his death had little effect on the witnesses, most of whom never took their eyes from him during the procedure. David Tidwell, stepfather of 11-year-old Annette Selix, whom Rich raped and then threw off a 105-foot bridge, sat stone-faced in one of the dozen chairs arranged in a semi-circle around the octagonal chamber. As he watched through the thick glass panels as Rich died, he held tightly onto the hand of the woman sitting next to him, a rape victim who had survived an attack by Rich and wanted to see him die for his crimes. "I can finally live in peace," the woman said later in a statement read by Nathan Barankin, spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer. "He won't be there to haunt me anymore."

Scott, who witnessed the lethal-injection execution of Darrell Rich in March 2000 as the Shasta County district attorney, remembers the event with almost clinical precision.

"I do not want to minimize or downplay the fact that the man's life was taken that night," Scott said of the so-called "Hilltop Rapist," who killed four young women in a 1978 crime spree.

"But what I observed that evening could not in any way be described as cruel or unusual punishment. It was a very calm process in which he appeared to go to sleep. And that was it."

Family members of Darrell Keith Rich’s victims - Darrell Keith Rich was executed by lethal injection in California on 15 March 2000.

Putting an end to it--that's what so many victims' families seek. Last week, a parade of witnesses at the Timothy McVeigh trial described the explosion's impact on their lives. Off the witness stand, survivors expressed their belief that killing McVeigh would be just, given their loss, and many vented their fury. "The sooner [McVeigh] meets his maker, the sooner justice will be served," said Darlene Welch, whose 4-year-old niece, Ashley, was killed in the blast.

Darlene Welch whose 4-year-old niece, Ashley, was killed in the Oklahoma Bombing blast.

Although never a supporter of the death penalty, Apple feels now that anything less than death would be a slap in the face to her brother and the 167 others who were killed in the bombing. To her, she says, it boils down to the concept of making choices—one of the most important, basic parts of life: [Timothy McVeigh] chose to park that truck, put in his earplugs, and walk off. When he did that, he took away the rights of 168 people to ever make decisions of their own again. My brother and the others can't elect to work, or play, or spend time with their families. So I don't want McVeigh to have the freedom to even get a drink of water in his cell. If those 168 victims can't make the most basic of choices, why should he? [He] has to pay for the choice he made on April 19, 1995—and he has to pay with his life.

Donnetta Apple whose brother was killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma.

Before Oklahoma City, Carolyn Templin was, by her own admission, "very much opposed" to capital punishment. "But losing my son-in-law made it clear how important the death penalty is," she says. Templin's son-in-law, Scott Williams, was killed in the Murrah building blast, three months before his daughter, Kylie, was born.


Templin now believes that if one is "found guilty beyond a doubt, the only appropriate way is to execute the person." And swiftly, too: Endless delays in carrying out death sentences, she says, serve only to undermine their deterrent effect. Templin traveled to Washington to lobby for a bill speeding up executions for convicted terrorists on death row. The bill's passage renewed her faith in the very federal government that Timothy McVeigh so hated. McVeigh could have channelled his anger constructively. "Instead, he chose to mass murder 168 families." For that, she says, he deserves to die.”

Carolyn Templin whose son-in-law, Scott Williams, was killed in the Murrah building blast.

Borowski’s father, Ray, who witnessed the execution with his wife, Lorraine, and other family members, praised prosecutors, investigators and Gov. Ryan, who refused to grant clemency to Kokoraleis Tuesday.

“We can now anticipate some relief and attempt to continue on with our lives, always remembering that justice has been served,” he said. He did not immediately respond to Kokoraleis’ apology.

Ray Borowski is the father of Lorraine Borowski who was murdered by Andrew Kokoraleis in 1982. On March 16, 1999, 35-year-old Andrew Kokoraleis was executed by lethal injection at Tamms Correctional Center in Southern Illinois for the 1982 strangulation murder of Lorraine Borowski.

CASE: Gregg Braun was sentenced to die for the 7/21/89 murder of Gwendolyn Sue Miller in an $80 flower shop robbery in Ardmore, Oklahoma. A customer was shot in the head and robbed of $600 and the bookkeeper was also shot. He also murdered four other people in a multi-state crime spree. Each of the five murder victims was found shot in the back of the head with a .25-caliber handgun. Miller's husband, Dusty, and their 3 children planned to watch Braun die on the eve of the anniversary of her July 21, 1989, death. "After all the pain and being helpless to protect my kids and family, this is the only thing I can do," Miller said. On July 19, 1989, Braun, a 28-year-old college graduate with a degree in criminal justice, kidnapped Barbara Kochendorfer, 27 and Mary Raines, 28, during a robbery of two different convenience stores, on opposite sides of town in Garden City, Kansas. Both women were shot and dumped on the side of the same rural road. Between them they left eight young children. Braun later told police that just after the first murder he felt he had to kill again. The next day, July 20, 1989, he also murdered 54-year-old Pete Spurrier, the owner of the One Hour Photo store in Pampa, Texas. On July 23, 1989, Braun killed Geraldine Valdez, 48, by shooting her twice in the head during a gas station robbery in Springer, New Mexico. He was caught 40 minutes after her murder with the gun still in his car. "You guys must be proud," he told police. "You don't know what kind of famous criminal you caught." Braun told a deputy of his murderous spree, "it wasn't as good as shooting craps in Vegas, but it was all right." Lelyn Braun says he didn't know this Gregg Braun. Yes, the son he raised had his troubles with drugs. Yes, the youngest Braun ran with the wrong crowd. But he had seemed ready to get his life on track when he came to live with his parents. Lelyn Braun blames the murder spree on a combination of drugs and alcohol. He said he wrote the victims' families to tell them that he wished Gregg had never been born. Lelyn Braun doesn't defend his son's actions. But says "They're going to kill a good man. And they're going to do it illegally." Braun's father was a prominent Garden City lawyer at the time of the crimes. Mr. Braun wanted to have his son returned to New Mexico to serve a life sentence there.

Dusty Miller understands why a father would fight for his child. He raised 3 children to adulthood alone. But Mr. Miller can't comprehend how a 28-year-old Mr. Braun could walk into an Ardmore, Okla., floral shop and shoot his sweet-natured wife, Gwendolyn Sue Miller. And Mr. Miller doesn't believe that a man like that can change as Lelyn Braun claims. "I don't understand how he could meet somebody like Gwen and still make a decision that the world didn't need her anymore," Mr. Miller said Monday. Dolores Spurrier doesn't want to see the execution of Braun, who pleaded guilty to the shooting death of her husband, Pete. "Any delay would be too much," Dolores said Tuesday before the execution. "I'll handle it better here (in Pampa). I just want it over with," she said of the execution. The victim's son, Bill Spurrier of San Antonio, said he will attend the execution, but the coming event invoked painful memories. "The execution brought everything back like it was yesterday, and it's not only for me, but for my wife and my mother," Spurrier said Tuesday. Bill Spurrier said the execution will bring him a sense of closure. "I know he'll never be able to commit another murder," he said.

Dolores Spurrier said she went to every one of Braun's trials and got to know relatives of the other victims. "I think everybody is just glad that it's going to happen," she said. "It will be some closure. But I don't think you would ever really get over it." Other representatives of the victims' families are planning to be at the execution. The families have stayed in touch and said they always planned to attend the execution, no matter how long it took. 39 family members of Braun's 5 murder victims came to witness the execution, but only 12 of them were able to witness it from inside the death chamber. The remaining 27 watched from a nearby room on closed-circuit television. "I'm glad to get this over with," said Dusty Miller, Gwendolyn Miller's husband. "I feel sorry for him (Braun) that he's chosen to take his life and do something like this . . . but I'm still very angry that he's taken my wife and my children's mother away. I can't forgive him tonight. Maybe I can sometime down the line."

Thursday's execution of Gregg Francis Braun brought a sense of justice to Bill Spurrier but will not completely mend the emotional rips and tears from his father's murder. "I've been asked several times whether I feel that watching the execution would be revenge for me," Spurrier said Thursday. "My answer is after 11 years, there is no revenge; that is justice." Braun was pronounced dead at 12:17 a.m. Thursday, 6 minutes after receiving a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. "I think that the execution was very humane," said Bill Spurrier, a San Antonio resident. "It looked like he just went to sleep." Spurrier thanked the Oklahoma Department of Corrections personnel and everybody who was there for the victims.

Dusty Miller says when he watches the execution of his wife's killer, he will be honoring the wedding vows he made to her for the final time. "I took an oath to love, honor and protect my wife. I wasn't allowed to do it. Gregg Braun took that away from me. Making sure he pays for what he did -- it's the last thing I can do to honor those vows," Miller said.

While Braun has never attempted to contact any of the victims' survivors, Miller said his family did receive a letter of regret and sympathy from the killer's parents. Shortly after Braun was arrested, Miller started carrying a photograph of his wife's murderer in his wallet. "I didn't want to forget him. After the shock, the grief, anger and depression I finally got tired of being reminded. It got to the point where it wasn't healthy anymore and I stopped," he said. Now Miller says all he wants is justice. "I feel it (execution) needs to be done. It closes a chapter in our lives. It won't be a complete closure, naturally we don't have Gwen anymore," Miller said. "This person did not care for Gwen, her life or her future. He deserves to pay for what he did."

Family members of Gregg Francis Braun’s victims – They were murdered by him on 21 July 1989. Gregg Francis Braun was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 20 July 2000.

SUMMARY: David Earl Gibbs was convicted and sentenced to death for the July 1985 murder of 29 year-old Marietta Bryant. Gibbs raped and murdered Bryant and her roommate, Carol Ackland. Gibbs worked and lived at the Conroe, Texas apartment complex where Bryant and Ackland lived. Both women were outpatients of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Gibbs confessed after his fingerprints were found at the scene and human blood found on his boots. In his statement, Gibbs stated:"While I was having sex with her, I cut her throat. I don't know why I did it." Next, he raped Bryant and slashed her throat with a butcher knife, and ransacked the place to make it look like the women were killed in a burglary. Gibbs was previously convicted of theft robbery and burglary, and on parole after early release at the time of the murders. In 1990, while in jail for Ms. Bryant's rape and murder, Gibbs was also convicted of voluntary manslaughter for killing another death row inmate, Calvin Williams. Gibbs received a 20 year sentence for that homicide.

Afterwards, Mickey Bryant told a reporter, "the apology doesn't cover the crime that he committed. He needed to die for that crime. But, I did appreciate the statement and the fact that in his mind, he has been forgiven as best as I understood it and I hope that's the case. The Lord will judge in the end, and whether or not he truly repented as was forgiven, in my mind, he paid the price he needed to pay. I guess if I was a vindictive person, I would think that he should die in the way that he murdered Marietta ... (but) we live in a humane society and that's the humane way to do it."

Mickey Bryant whose sister, Marietta Bryant was murdered by David Earl Gibbs on 1 July 1985. David Earl Gibbs was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 23 August 2000.

Summary: Dwayne Weeks was sentenced to die for the April 10, 1992 murder of his estranged wife, Gwendolyn Weeks, 27, and her friend and co-worker Craig Williams, 33, in Wilmington, Delaware. Gwendolyn had left Dwayne after a lengthy documented history of domestic violence. Gwendolyn was shot twice in the head and Craig was shot three times by Weeks accomplice Arthur Govan as he called 911 on the phone. Weeks stole Gwendolyn's purse to make it appear as though the murder had been part of a robbery. The jury recommended a death sentence for Govan also, but the judge sentenced him to two life sentences. Weeks was arrested leaving his residence with his girlfriend who originally told police that Weeks was with her all day but later admitted that he had been out for a while. 11/15/00 - A panel of federal appeals court judges in Philadelphia has ordered the execution of Dwayne Weeks put on hold so the U.S. Supreme Court can decide whether it will take up an appeal filed by defense attorneys. The stay is being challenged by state prosecutors, who have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the order immediately so that Weeks' execution, scheduled for Friday morning, can go forward. Weeks' attorneys argued that his original defense lawyer failed to tell him about an important weakness in the prosecution's case. Before Weeks pleaded guilty in 1993, his lawyer, Jack Willard, should have told him that damaging statements made by his co-defendant, Arthur Govan, could not be used in a trial against Weeks, appeals lawyer Adam Balick said. That argument has been rejected by Delaware's Supreme Court and the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Weeks also has challenged the constitutionality of Delaware's death-penalty statute. His lawyers filed an appeal in the Third Circuit arguing that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision voids Delaware's law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that when prosecutors argue that an aggravating factor in a crime makes the defendant eligible for a sentence stiffer than the legal maximum, only a jury may decide if the factor exists, Weeks' defense lawyer, Joe Bernstein, said. Under Delaware law, the jury recommends whether a defendant should receive the death penalty and a judge makes the final decision. In 1993, Weeks pleaded guilty to the 1992 slayings of his estranged wife, Gwendolyn Weeks, and her friend Craig Williams. A jury was empaneled for Weeks' sentencing and it voted 10-2 to recommend the death penalty. Judge John E. Babiarz ordered Weeks put to death, citing his previous criminal record and the fact that he masterminded the attack. A jury found Govan guilty of murder and recommended that he be executed, but Babiarz sentenced him to life in prison, citing his limited mental capacity and his compliant personality. - 11/16/00 - Stay was lifted.

Rena Mack, whose sister was killed by Weeks, witnessed the execution. "This has been a long eight years for my family, a lot of unnecessary pain. But tonight brings a certain sense of closure."

Rena Mack whose sister, Gwendolyn Weeks was shot and killed by Dwayne L. Weeks on 10 April 1992. Dwayne L. Weeks was executed by lethal injection in Delaware on 17 November 2000.

"I'm glad I live in a country which has made an example of this man," said Kathleen Treanor, who watched his death on the television link.”

Kathleen Treanor whose four-year-old daughter was among Timothy McVeigh's victims greeted his death with relief.

He added: "(McVeigh) had a look of defiance and if he could do it all again, he would."

"He had a look of defiance and that if he could, he'd do it all over again," Whicher said. He added: "I don't think he gave himself to the Lord. I don't think he repented and personally I think he's in hell."

"I think today our justice system has preserved the freedom of this country."

Larry Whicher whose brother died in the Oklahoma bombing.

Summary: Clark spotted 23 year old Melisa Garcia making a call from a public phone booth on the street. When she finished the call, Clark approached and stabbed her in the shoulder. He then forced her into her own car, raped her, then stabbed her in the heart. Defendant led police to body and confessed. Post-conviction DNA confirmed guilt. Tragically, the victim's grandmother was murdered by Adolph Hernandez one year earlier. Both Clark and Hernandez were executed in 2001.

Mary Jane Garcia, Melisa Garcia's mother, said she doesn't believe Clark's last-minute apology. "He said he was sorry, but I don't think he meant it," Garcia said after witnessing Clark's death. "I needed to be here because of what he did to my daughter. Seeing him take his last breath made me feel better."

The Slaton woman plans to witness a second execution next month. Adolph Gil Hernandez, the man who robbed and killed her mother, is scheduled for lethal injection Feb. 8. "I'm praying. God is helping me. I know I can come again," Garcia said. "That way these two chapters in my life can be closed. I've been waiting 12 years. Once it's over, I'll never remember (the killers') names again."

The scene was all too familiar for Mary Jane Garcia. Returning to Huntsville for the second time in a month, the West Texas woman watched Thursday night as a convicted killer was put to death for murdering one of her loved ones. "For me, it was the same," Garcia said after watching Adolph Gil Hernandez receive lethal injection for killing her 69-year-old mother with a baseball bat during a robbery more than a dozen years ago. "I'm just relieved and happy to know it's over. We don't have to worry about him getting out."

Mary Jane Garcia whose mother, Elizabeth Alvarado was murdered by Adolph Gil Hernandez on 30 September 1988. Her daughter, Melisa Garcia was murdered by Jack Wade Clark on 15 October 1989. Jack Wade Clark and Adolph Gil Hernandez were both executed by lethal injection in Texas on 9 January 2001 and 8 February 2001 respectively.

"I still think he was guilty," Joe Hilzendager, the murder victim's brother, said Thursday. "I think they executed the right man."

Joe Hilzendager is the brother of Allen Hilzendager who was shot dead by Claude Howard Jones on 14 November 1989. He was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 7 December 2000.

Inside the death chamber, Rhonda Kreps, whose mother, sister and nephew were slain by Robison, dabbed her eyes as she watched him die. She sobbed heavily and was comforted by the other 5 witnesses and by prison officials as she was helped outside. After the execution, relatives of the 5 people Robison killed issued a statement saying, "Justice has been done. Larry Robison has paid with his life for the 17-year nightmare of trauma and heartache he caused for the families of his victims," the family said. "We will cherish the memories of our loved ones. We are grateful for the support of our friends and families, the community and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victims Services Division."

Rhonda Kreps whose mother, sister and nephew were slain by Larry Keith Robison on 10 August 1982. He was executed by the state of Texas on 21 January 2000.

CASE: The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-0 to deny clemency for Mark Fowler. Fowler was sentenced to death for the 1985 murders of Rick Cast, 33, Chumpon Chaowasin, 44, and John Barrier, 27. The three men were killed during a robbery at a supermarket in Edmond. Fowler's accomplice, Billy Ray Fox, had worked at the store and was fired shortly before the robbery. The pair herded night manager Rick Cast and employees Chumpon Chaowasin and John Barrier into a back room, where they were shot, clubbed and stabbed. Fox and Fowler were tried together, and both received death sentences. Billy Ray Fox's execution is scheduled for January 25. Billy Ray Fox was convicted in 1986 for the 1985 execution-style murders of three Edmond employees of a Wynn's IGA in Oklahoma County. Fox had worked at the store and was fired shortly before the robbery. He and his accomplice, Mark Andrew Fowler, herded night manager Rick Cast and employees Chumpon Chaowasin and John Barrier into a back room, where they were shot, clubbed and stabbed. Fox and Fowler were tried together, and both received death sentences. 


6 family members and friends of two of the slain men came to the prison to see Fowler die. "I have always believed in 'an eye for and eye'," Linda Barrier, the sister of victim John Barrier, wrote to a clemency board earlier this month. "I have waited 15 years for the final chapter." Fowler had maintained he was a lookout during the murders, but he apologized to the victim's families at his clemency hearing.

Three of Cast's family members were at the prison to witness the execution, along with Barrier's sister, Linda Barrier, her friend and three Edmond police officers. The same family members watched Fowler die Tuesday. Cast's brother, Frank Cast, called Fowler and Fox "mad dogs" and said their execution was the end of 15 1/2 years of grief and pain. "I request all people of good conscience to pray for the souls of the three victims and deceased members of all the families of this tragedy, as well as pray that the souls of these two killers be sent directly to Hell," Cast wrote in a statement.

Loved ones of the victims of Mark Andrew Fowler and Billy Ray Fox on 3 July 1985. Mark Andrew Fowler and Billy Ray Fox were both executed in Oklahoma by lethal injection on 23 January 2001 and 25 January 2001 respectively.

Janice Smith, whose brother Lanny Scroggins died in the bombing, prayed with her children at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, then left after getting word that McVeigh was dead. "It's over," she said. "We don't have to continue with him anymore."

Janice Smith whose brother Lanny Scroggins died in the Oklahoma bombings.

Summary: Miller was sentenced to death for the November 11, 1988 kidnapping, rape and murder of 7-year-old April Marie Wilson of Merkel, Texas. April's mother, Marjorie Howlett, asked her cousin and his girlfriend to babysit that night. Miller also lived with them and joined the rest of the small community in searching for April the following morning when she was reported missing. Her body was found by hunters in a nearby field the same day. During interrogation by police, 21 year old Miller confessed that he had returned home after drinking and found April sleeping on the couch. He woke her up and took her "for a ride". He drove to a remote area where he raped her, choked her and then bludgeoned her to death. Traces of the child's blood were found on the tailgate of his pickup. An insanity defense was unsuccessful at trial.

Marjorie Howlett, the mother of the murdered little girl, stood, crying quietly as Miller died. "I'm glad I came," she said. "After all these years I finally got an apology from him."

Marjorie Howlett whose daughter, April Marie Wilson was murdered by Garry Dean Miller on 11 November 1988. Garry Dean Miller was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 5 December 2000.

"He will get what he deserves in the afterlife, where he will meet Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer," says Ernie Ross, who suffered serious injuries from the blast while working across the street. Another survivor suggested that McVeigh should have one leg amputated and then be suspended over sharpened, growing bamboo shoots that would pierce his body.


Ernie Ross who suffered serious injuries from the Oklahoma Bombing blast while working across the street

Elliott King, Charla King's uncle, was the only member of the victim's family to witness the execution.

"I was glad I got to see it," King said. "I thought he died very, very quickly." 

King said he didn't feel any sympathy for Taylor.

"I think that he wasn't willing to make any restitution towards Charla (by admitting guilt)," he said. "I feel great. I feel it's good that he's gone. . . . Sherron (Charla's mother) won't have to keep reliving this crime."