64 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Victims' Families whom justice was served in the U.S.A (2002 to 2004)

During a press conference just after 10 p.m., Dawn Marie Garvin's mother, Betty, said Oken "has been brought to justice." "It has been a long 17-year rollercoaster ride. My family has been put through hell in the past 17 years," Betty Romano said. "This past two weeks has been the worst two weeks since we lost Dawn." She thanked God, family members, the state attorney general and the U.S. Supreme Court.


She also thanked the governor for his unwavering support. "From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank that man [Ehrlich] very much because he stuck to his word. He kept his word. He didn't wimp out at the last minute. He's a very strong man and I don't have any problems supporting him in the future, ever," Mrs. Romano said.

At one point during the execution, Oken's toe twitched a "mile a minute," Mrs. Romano said. She said she saw little else, commenting that her view of the inmate was his toes and his stomach. "He was aware until he got that first shot," she said. "I could tell by the reaction of his body." Garvin's brother, Fred A. Romano, said justice has been served. He said the families of the victims are elated, and it's time to move on.


Asked whether Oken's death would bring any healing to his family, Fred Romano said: "It started at 9:18. The burden's been lifted. Oken is dead."

Family members of Dawn Marie Garvin who was murdered by Steven Oken on 1 November 1987. He was executed by the state of Maryland on 17 June 2004.

Summary: Noel, Carroll, Cochran and Calloway were riding around Little Rock in Cochran's car "getting high." They went to the home of Mary Hussian, whose daughter Noel suspected of being involved in the drive-by killing of his brother. Calloway got out of the car and followed Noel and Carroll into the house. Noel told the three children: Marcell Young (17), Malak Hussian (10), and Mustafa Hussian (12) in the residence to get down on the floor. Calloway testified she watched as Noel shot each of the children in the head and killed them. A co-defendant tried to shoot Mary Hussian with a shotgun but it jammed, and she was able to wrestle it away. Noel testified at the trial against his lawyers' advice and denied killing the children. One of Noel's accomplices received a 20 year prison sentence after he testified on behalf of the state. Another was sentenced to life in prison without parole and the third got 132 years in prison for the three killings.

Among the witnesses to the execution was Kyle Jones, whose 17-year-old fiance/, Marcell Young, was among the victims. Young was slain along with her younger brother and sister in a southwest Little Rock home on June 4, 1995. Jones was in the house when the killings occurred but escaped by crawling through a window. "I finally feel that justice has been served," Jones said after the execution. "It's been eight long years, and I finally can put this behind me and move on. We as individuals make decisions. He made the decision to take their lives. Today the state of Arkansas made the decision to take his life, and I'm glad for that decision."

Kyle Jones whose fiancée, Marcell Young was murdered Riley Dobi Noel by on 4 June 1995. Riley Dobi Noel was executed by lethal injection in Arkansas on 9 July 2003.

Summary: Jones drove onto the Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas and shortly after 9 pm on February 18, 1995 kidnapped Private Tracie Joy McBride at gunpoint from a laundry room, where she was chatting on the phone with a friend from Minnesota. He brought her to his house and sexually assaulted her. Thereafter, he drove Private McBride to a bridge just outside of San Angelo, where he repeatedly struck her in the head with a tire iron until she died. Petitioner administered blows of such severe force that, when the victim’s body was found, the medical examiners observed that large pieces of her skull had been driven into her cranial cavity or were missing. The next morning, military officials phoned Tracie's parents to say Tracie was missing. Two people had seen a man abduct her the night before. When one man tried to follow, Jones assaulted him, that man later testified. Nearly two weeks after the assault, Jones confessed to killing Tracie and led police to her body under a bridge about 27 miles from San Angelo. Jones admitted that he had sexually assaulted and beaten her to death with a tire iron. Jones served a total of 22 years in the Army as an airborne ranger, had combat duty in Grenada and the Gulf War, and retired as a Master Sergeant. His defense and appeals claimed post-traumatic stress and Gulf War Syndrome from exposure to nerve gas. The claims were rejected by the jury and later by appellate courts.

"We're not going to have these constant reminders in the negative sense." Irene McBride is counting on Bush to let the sentence stand. She plans to witness Jones' execution. "We're not looking for comfort out of this," she said. "We're looking for justice. His execution will not bring Tracie back, but it will show us that the justice system in America still works."

Irene McBride said she doesn't expect to feel comforted if Jones is put to death. "Nobody's going to win. . . .All this is going to be is justice," she said. Comfort would only come, if when Jones died, "we got Tracie back," she said. The family simply wants to grieve in a normal way "rather than it being brought up over and over and over again," Irene McBride said. The family wants to focus on the happy memories of Tracie: Her energetic smile. The way she loved to make classmates happy by baking chocolate chip cookies so often that she knew the recipe by heart. Her soprano voice at church, she said. How would they feel if, as in Minnesota, the death penalty were not an option and Jones was sentenced to life in prison? "No matter what somebody is convicted of . . . they always try to appeal for something lower," Irene McBride said. "I think it would be worse to think that he could ever get out."

Mike Smith, the family's pastor, describes himself as forgiving but says forgiveness is not an issue here. "This was one of the most heinous crimes," said Smith. "It's not so much vengeance against Louis Jones, but there needs to be justice for the crime -- and justice is the death penalty."


"Today was a day of justice for Tracie," Irene McBride, the victim's mother, said after she witnessed the execution. "Today Louis Jones finally was made accountable for his actions, and today he will meet his ultimate judge. Everybody is glad this is over. It's been a long 8 years," she said. "The healing is not over; it's just beginning."

Irene McBride is the mother of Tracie Joy McBride. She was murdered by Louis Jones, Jr. on 18 February 1995. He was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 18 March 2003.

Summary: The bodies of a family of four were found in their burning house on August 29, 1994. The children and their father were shot in the head. The mother had been strangled. The victims were identified as Blaine and Teresa Hodges and their two children, Anah, 3, and Winter, 11. Authorities immediately suspected Bramblett, a family friend who had been living with the Hodges family. After questioning, authorities believed he knew things about the crime scene that had previously not been reported. .22-caliber bullet casings from his truck matched those at the scene and a pubic hair belonging to Bramblett was found in the girls' bed. Prosecutors theorized that Bramblett murdered the family because he was sexually obsessed with 11 year old Winter, and that Blaine Hodges was using the girl to entrap him in a sex crime. Tapes recovered from Bramblett depicted his sexual attraction toward the eldest daughter. Bramblett claimed all the circumstantial evidence used against him had either been planted or fabricated. He said his pubic hair sample was taken before authorities located the hair on the girls' bed, and that his tape recordings had been altered to give the impression he was attracted to Winter. Bramblett was arrested and charged with the slayings about two years after the murders. The testimony of a jailhouse informant, since recanted, was also presented at trial. Bramblett told him he was "addicted to young girls," and said that he had been caught with one of the children by her mother. The informant testified that Bramblett told him he choked her. After that, Bramblett killed the rest of the family and burned the house to destroy the evidence.

A man who murdered a family of four was put to death in Virginia's electric chair Wednesday, maintaining his innocence to the end. Earl C. Bramblett, 61, was pronounced dead at 9:09 p.m. EDT after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeals and Gov. Mark R. Warner denied his request for clemency. Bramblett was only the third Virginia inmate to die in the electric chair since condemned prisoners were given the option of electrocution or lethal injection in 1995.

Bramblett was led into the execution chamber at 8:54 p.m. and strapped into the oak electric chair built by inmates. "I didn't murder the Hodges family," Bramblett said firmly in his final statement. "I've never murdered anybody. I'm going to my death with a clear conscience," Bramblett said. "I am going to my death having had a great life because of my two great sons," who visited Bramblett earlier in the day along with his ex-wife.

A Department of Corrections official then turned a key switch in the wall behind the electric chair, activating the system. An executioner sitting behind a one-way glass immediately pressed a button labeled "execute" and 1,800 volts surged through Bramblett's body, causing him to go rigid and throwing him against the back of the chair. Bramblett's head and right leg were shaved to allow skintight attachments of two electrodes. During the execution, a puff of smoke rose from the electrode on his right leg. After waiting five minutes, Dr. Alvin Harris, a corrections physicians, walked into the death chamber and placed his stethoscope against Bramblett's chest. "This man has expired," Harris announced.

Sarah Lugar, Teresa Hodges's niece, said yesterday that she planned to attend the execution, along with her mother, Brenda Lugar. Sarah Lugar remembered the Hodgeses as an "all-American family." She recalled that her aunt often made homemade bread and that the children loved the movie "Beauty and the Beast." "A lot of pain and suffering will die with [Bramblett] tonight," Sarah Lugar said hours before the execution. "Nothing that we are going to see this evening will be any worse than what he did to them."

Sarah Lugar – Her aunt, Teresa Hodges with her family members were murdered by Earl Conrad Bramblett (March 20, 1942 - April 9, 2003) was a man from Virginia who was convicted for the 1994 murders of the Hodges family (father William, mother Teresa, 11 year old Winter and 4 year old Anah). He was sentenced to death for the murders and executed by the State of Virginia in the electric chair in 2003.

Summary: On Oct. 6, 1990, Joe and Elaine Langley were working with their 10-year-old daughter, Falyssa, at a flea market in Beaumont. Joe Langley saw James Rexford Powell, an acquaintance, at 9 a.m. for about 10 to 15 minutes. Langley also saw Powell talk to Falyssa. Around 10 a.m., Falyssa left to buy a bag of peanuts; a little while later, Powell came by and indicated he was leaving. Falyssa never returned and her body was found that afternoon under a bridge with her hands and ankles bound with rope. She had been sexually abused and died of ligature strangulation. Witnesses identified Powell's motor home on the bridge and DNA from sperm found on Falyssa's body matched Powell's DNA.


Her father, Mike Van Winkle, after watching Powell die, offered thanks to "the citizens of Texas for having the courage and conviction to demand that there be consequences for those people who refuse to abide by the most basic rule – that you cannot abduct, violate and strangle 10-year-old girls. I am extremely satisfied that Mr. Powell is now assuming room temperature," he added.

Van Winkle criticized death penalty opponents for favoring sparing the lives of murderers. "Powell deserves the compassion of a cockroach," he said.

Mike Van Winkle is the father of Falyssa Ann Van Winkle – She was murdered by James Rexford Powell on 6 October 1990. James Rexford Powell was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 9 October 2002.

Summary: The 29 month old victim, Leslie Michelle English, and her mother, Wanda English, resided with Mrs. English's parents. Crawford was the estranged husband of Wanda English's sister. At approximately 11:00 p.m. Saturday, September 24, 1983, Mrs. English readied the Leslie for bed. Crawford arrived at the victim's residence and asked Mrs. English to accompany him to a liquor store. Mrs. English agreed. Crawford was intoxicated and, en route from the liquor store, made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase marijuana. The two returned to the residence where Crawford asked Mrs. English to spend the night with him. When she refused, the defendant left. Later the same night, the two met again at another sister's house and had an argument and physical altercation, which ended with Crawford leaving and saying, "I'll fix you." At approximately 5:00 am, Wanda English returned home and discovered Leslie missing. Wanda's father, Raymond Fuller, stated that he was awakened after 3:00 am and saw Crawford walking through the house, but thought nothing of it since he was a frequent guest in the home. A neighbor identified Crawford as driving up to the Fuller house at 3:45 to 4:00, leaving the car headlights on and the motor running, then returning five minues later and driving away. The victim's body, clothed only in a pajama top, was discovered in a wooded area two days later. An autopsy revealed evidence of rape and death as a result of asphyxiation. The forensic evidence indicated that several head and pubic hairs consistent with those of the defendant were found on the victim's body. Carpet fibers found on the victim's body were consistent with the fibers of the carpet in the defendant's car. In the days following the abduction, Crawford gave three inconsistent accounts of his activities. While mostly claiming to have "blacked out," Crawford eventually stated that he remembered driving his car, with the victim in his lap, and trying to wake up the victim, "but she would not talk to him." Crawford stated he stopped his car and walked "on pavement" with the victim in his arms, then got back into his car without the victim, but did not remember anything that had occurred in the interim.

Another of Leslie's uncles, Sammy English, witnessed the execution on behalf of the family. About 25 friends and family of the girl gathered outside the prison, where they cheered and clapped as a van brought out Crawford's body after the execution. "I don't think there will ever be final closure," said Peggy English Ridgeway, a cousin of Leslie's. "I don't think there ever is when you lose a child. But I do think it eases the pain in their hearts."

Peggy English Ridgeway is the uncle of Leslie Michelle English. She was murdered by Eddie Albert Crawford on 25 September 1983. Eddie Albert Crawford was executed by lethal injection on 19 July 2004.

"I tell you what, I would have liked to have seen the electric chair in use today, or maybe even a firing squad," said Jimmy Montgomery, the 66-year-old son of Lillian Montgomery. "He looked like he died too peacefully to me. I would have liked to have seen him suffer a little more, the way mama did. That would have given me a bit more satisfaction. But I am glad to see this part of our life end.”

"It took a while for this to happen -- 26 years, but I never did give up," Jimmy Montgomery said. "I'm glad the state came through for our family. There's no way I wanted to walk the streets of Tuscaloosa and see him walk by me. He can't hurt anyone else now.”


Jimmy Montgomery whose mother, Lilian was murdered by James Hubbard (March 7, 1930 – August 5, 2004) was sentenced to death in 1977 for the murder of Lillian Montgomery, whom he was living with after having been released from prison. Hubbard had served a 20 year sentence for a murder conviction, and called police to report a shooting on January 10, 1977. He said Lillian had shot herself at her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She died as the result of three gunshot wounds, one to the face, one to the head, and one to the shoulder, a difficult accomplishment as a suicide. Hubbard's execution by lethal injection for killing a Tuscaloosa woman who befriended him is set for Aug. 5 at Holman Prison near Atmore. Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said Hubbard has exhausted his appeals after 27 years, but he has been near execution before only to win a delay. Hubbard, who has maintained his innocence during the lengthy appeals, recently was moved from Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer to Holman. Warden Grantt Culliver said Hubbard spends his time reading and watching television. He hasn't exercised outside, but he has participated in a prison religious group. Bill Hayes, a Florida-based capital punishment historian, said Hubbard will be the oldest by far in the current series of executions that date to 1976. He said 24 inmates in their 60s have been executed nationwide in that period. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its 1976 landmark ruling, reinstated the death penalty by upholding new death penalty laws in Florida, Georgia, and Texas as constitutional. The court also held that the death penalty itself was constitutional under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and ended a 10-year moratorium on executions in which reforms were completed. Hayes said the oldest person executed in the 20th century was 83-year-old Joe Lee of Virginia in 1916, but Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections in that state, said Lee's actual age was in dispute and he may have been 68. But there have been at least 16 others in their 70s and 80s executed, according to Hayes' research. Nationwide, about 3,400 inmates await execution in the 38 states that allow capital punishment. A survey by The Associated Press in death-penalty states found at least two states - California and Arizona - with inmates in their 80s with no execution dates set. California has about 650 inmates on death row, the nation's most clogged. Arizona apparently has the nation's oldest - 88-year-old Viva Leroy Nash. Several other states have inmates in their 70s awaiting execution. The oldest inmate on Indiana's death row is Richard D. Moore, who turned 73 on June 5. On the only federal death row, also in Indiana, the oldest prisoner is 52 years old. In Florida, John Vining, 73, has been through the federal court system once and had new appeals denied by the Florida Supreme Court on May 20. William Cruse, 76, was convicted in the slayings of six people in 1987. However, he was declared mentally incompetent in 2002. In Alabama, Hubbard's age is not an issue for Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Tommy Smith, who prosecuted Hubbard for the killing that put him on death row. Hubbard wasn't elderly when he killed and Smith said the issue is the "unconscionable delays" on appeals that allowed him to stay alive. "You need to get to a final point expeditiously," Smith said. Hubbard first went to prison in 1957 for a second-degree murder conviction in the death of David Dockery in Tuscaloosa County. He was released in 1976 and killed again the next year. His second victim, 62-year-old store owner Lillian Montgomery, was shot three times and robbed of her gold and diamond wristwatch and about $500 in cash and checks. She had befriended Hubbard and "sponsored" him to gain his release in 1976, Smith said. Hubbard had moved into her home next door to the store she ran on U.S. Highway 82, according to court records. In a police statement, Hubbard said he had been drinking whiskey with Montgomery and claimed she committed suicide. Prosecutors introduced evidence that she couldn't have fired the fatal shots on Jan. 10, 1977. Hubbard was twice convicted in her death. An appeals court overturned the first conviction. But he was again sentenced to death at retrial and last year the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review it. The victim's son, Jimmy Montgomery, 66, a Tuscaloosa businessman, said he and his sister plan to attend the execution. "I hope it will be over," Montgomery said. "He shot her with a pistol I'd given her." Another son, 58-year-old Johnny Montgomery, a Birmingham-area real estate agent, doesn't plan to witness the execution, saying he feels "powerless" over what goes on with Hubbard and has never communicated with him. "One time I could have taken care of this guy with my own hands if they let me," the younger brother said in a telephone interview. "God has given me peace with this. I have forgiven him." UPDATE: A federal appeals court Wednesday refused to block the execution of the state's oldest death row inmate, a convicted killer who robbed and shot a woman who had befriended him. James Hubbard, 74, is scheduled to be executed by injection Thursday, despite pleas from his lawyers, who said he is too old and sick to be put to death. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied their request for a stay. Hubbard contends that because of his "advanced age" and mental incompetence, his execution would be a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Hubbard is scheduled to die for the 1977 slaying of 62-year-old Lillian Montgomery, a Tuscaloosa woman who befriended him after he served a prison sentence for another killing. He was recently diagnosed with dementia; a psychologist concluded his condition may cause confusion and interfere with his ability to understand legal procedures, according to papers his attorneys filed in the appeals court. Hubbard also claims he is suffering from hepatitis, diverticulitis, hypertension and acute back pain. State's attorneys said his claims did not warrant a stay of the execution.

Summary: McCullum seemed poised for success in 1994, the year he graduated from Aldine High School. He was the starting quarterback, won a football scholarship to Tyler Junior College, and was generally admired by teachers and coaches for his courteous, respectful behavior. Friendly and sociable, he was voted "Mr. Aldine" by his classmates. He had no prior exposure to the criminal justice system, but evidence was presented tying him to a series of shootings, robberies and assaults that summer. Along with classmates Terrance Perro, 19, Decedrick Gainous, 18, and Christopher Lewis, 17, and needing money to buy clothes for school, McCullum decided to go to Montrose and wait outside one of the gay clubs for a victim, because they had been told homosexuals "had money and were easy targets." The four spotted Michael Burzinski, 29, as he left Heaven, a nightclub in the gay section of Houston. Burzinski was hit in the head as he unlocked his car door, then forced into the back seat of his car. The four teens beat their victim as they drove him to the West Little York area in northwest Houston, where they used Burzinski 's bank card to steal $400. Then they drove Burzinski to a secluded area, where he was shot in the head and dumped. His car was found later, burned, near the neighborhood of the suspects. In a statement to police, McCullum said he shot Burzinski "because that is what everybody said I should do." Accomplice Perro pleaded no contest to aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, and accomplice Gainous was convicted of capital murder. Both are serving life sentences. Accomplice Lewis pleaded no contest to aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was recently paroled.


"I'm sure he was nervous. I'm sure he was afraid and possibly it gave him a slight taste of what our Michael went through 10 years ago," Kay Burzinski, Burzinski's mother, said after McCullum died.

Kay Burzinski is the mother of Michael James Burzinski who was murdered by Demarco Markeith McCullum on 30 July 1994. Demarco Markeith McCullum was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 9 November 2004.

Summary: Morrow abducted and murdered a 21 year old Lisa Allison, who was a college student home on spring break. She left her parents’ home at approximately 8:30 p.m. to wash her father’s car at a nearby car wash. The young woman had planned to drive the car to Houston the following day for a date. Her body was found floating in the Trinity River the day after her disappearance. She had been severely beaten and her throat slashed. Hair and blood samples taken from Morrow matched those taken from the car Allison drove. Testimony showed that Morrow had previously talked of committing a kidnapping, rape, and murder from the car wash. A jury took just 13 minutes to sentence Morrow to death following his capital murder conviction. Days before his execution, Morrow admitted that he lied during the trial when he claimed an alibi. Instead he admitted beating and slashing Lisa to death, and claimed that Lisa had gone with him willingly from the car wash to smoke crack cocaine. Of course, if this version were true, there was no underlying felony of kidnapping to support a death sentence. Neither the appeals courts nor the victim's family were convinced.


The woman's father, Michael Allison, said earlier he'd like to tell Morrow: "We're glad you're going to be off this Earth. We think the world will be a better and safer place with you gone." His daughter had cheated death once, getting a clean bill of health months earlier after surviving thyroid cancer. She was looking forward to a hotel-management career after graduation from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Michael Allison whose daughter, Myra Elisabeth Allison was murdered by Robert Brice Morrow on 3 April 1996. Robert Brice Morrow was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 4 November 2004.

Summary: Robinson was a member of the Van-Ness Gangster Bloods, a violent street gang active in the crack cocaine trade. He had been staying with friends in Oklahoma City. After an argument over drug sales and turf on a streetcorner, Hill was shot in the back as he ran by Robinson with a .38 handgun. Robinson then followed the wounded Hill and fired two more bullets into him as he lay in the street. Robinson then fled the state, but was arrested in Los Angeles four months later.


"It's been a long 13 years of waiting, pain and stress for me," Anthony Lee, Hill's brother, said in a statement. "And now the time has come when my mind can be free, but Dennis can still be in my heart."

Anthony Lee is the brother of Dennis Eugene Hill. Dennis Eugene Hill was murdered by Walanzo Deon Robinson on 19 May 1989. Walanzo Deon Robinson was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 18 March 2003.

Summary: Revilla, then 18, was babysitting the 13 month old baby of his teenage girlfriend. Revilla claimed he arrived home and found the baby lifeless on the floor. He tried to revive Gomez by hitting him in the abdomen, and when that failed, he placed him in the bathtub and ran some water over him. In a panic, he accidentally turned on the hot water, causing burns to the child. He then decided to take the child to the hospital, and while hurriedly leaving the house he struck the child's head on a door frame and then tripped and fell on top of the boy on a concrete floor. Medical experts testified at trial that the baby's injuries could not have happened the way Revilla described. An autopsy revealed that the infant had suffered numerous injuries over a two week period, and was bruised, burned and had cuts on his thighs and peeling skin on his chest and groin when he died, along with a swollen and bleeding brain and a severed liver. The mother, Michelle McElmurry, and two other witnesses testified that Revilla hated the boy because he was not his child. She told of previous abuse, saying Revilla had shut the baby in a kitchen drawer, folded him in a hide-a-bed, dunked him in cold water and hung him by his ankles with duct tape. The jury did not believe Revilla.


"I feel that justice has finally been served -- not for me but for my son Mark," Juan Gomez said afterward.

Juan Gomez whose 13 month old son, Mark Gomez was murdered by Daniel Juan Revilla on 26 January 1987. Daniel Juan Revilla was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 16 January 2003.

Summary: Fox was convicted of aggravated murder and kidnapping for luring Leslie Keckler, an 18 year old freshman at Owens Technical College, to an interview in Bowling Green, for a nonexistent restaurant-supply sales job. He convinced her to get into his car under the pretext of showing her the sales route and drove to a rural area north of the city. She rejected his sexual advances and fought him, then tried to open the car door. He pulled her back, pulled her coat over her head and stabbed her six times in the back. He then drove to a secluded road where, he told police, he strangled her with a rope "just to make sure she was dead." Her body was found four days later in a ditch. The key evidence against Fox included bloodstains in his car and a knife, which prosecutors said was used to kill Leslie.


"The family feels justice has been served, that Leslie and my mother can now be at peace," said Miss Keckler’s brother, Chad.

Chad Keckler is the brother of Leslie Renae Keckler. She was murdered by Richard Edwin Fox on 26 September 1989. Richard Edwin Fox was executed by lethal injection in Ohio on 12 February 2003.

Summary: Dinkins was a 27 year old Air Force veteran who went to Thompson's Massage Therapy Clinic to discuss a bad check he had written earlier. Dinkins came armed with a .25 caliber handgun and a .357 he had purchased the day before. A heated argument ensued between Dinkins and the owner, 46 year old Katherine Thompson, and when Thompson attempted to push him out the door, both guns dropped to the floor. Dinkins picked up the .25, pointed and fired, but it jammed. He then picked up the .357 and shot Thompson dead. Cutler, a 32 year old customer and also nurse, ran and locked herself in an office, but Dinkins shot through a reception window and the bullet hit her in the head, killing her. Dinkins name was found in an appointment book and upon arrest, confessed to the crime. Blood was found on his clothing and the .357 murder weapon was found at his home.


At a press conference after the execution, Mike Thompson, Katherine Thompson's son, said he was pleased Dinkins' sentence had been carried out. "I never hated the man, (but) he took my mother," he said. "I just wanted to make sure the same happened to him ... justice was done."

Thompson said it made no difference how his mother died and how Dinkins' sentence was carried out. "Death is death," he said. "The punishment fit the crime. I came here to make sure he got what was coming to him."

Mike Thompson is the son of Katherine Thompson. She and Shelly Cutler were murdered by Richard Eugene Dinkins on 12 September 1990. Richard Eugene Dinkins were executed by lethal injection in Texas on 29 January 2003.

Summary: Maisie Carlene Gray, age 57, had been working at the Attalla convenience store about three weeks and was working alone on December 10, 1984 when Thompson, carrying a .22 caliber pistol, forced her to empty the cash register. Thompson then forced Gray at gunpoint into the trunk of his car. After driving around for some time, Thompson took her to a well and forced her into it, shooting into the well several times, until he ran out of ammunition. He then drove to his girlfriend's home, picked up more bullets, and returned with her to the well. While his girlfriend, Shirley Franklin held a homemade torch, Thompson fired seven or eight more shots into the well to make sure Gray was dead. His girlfriend's husband later called the police and her admissions led to the well and to Thompson's arrest. Thompson later gave complete confessions to police. At trial, Thompson testified that police had coerced him to confess and that Franklin killed the clerk. The jury did buy the story.


Evelyn Elliott, Gray's daughter, said she was disappointed that Thompson showed no remorse toward her or her two brothers who watched him die. "He did not look in our direction or offer any apology," Elliott said. "It was horrible ... but if anyone deserved to die, it was him."

Evelyn Elliott is the daughter of Maisie Carlene Gray. Maisie Carlene Gray was murdered by Michael Eugene Thompson on 10 December 1984. Michael Eugene Thompson was executed by lethal injection in Alabama on 13 March 2003.

Summary: Laura Lee Sanders and Michael Houghton were seated in Sanders' car outside a Tulsa bar when they were approached by Scott Allen Hain and Robert Wayne Lambert. Hain and Lambert were in the parking lot, waiting to rob a nearby house when they saw Sanders and Houghton talking in the car. Appellant and Lambert forced their way into the car by threatening Houghton with a knife. Hain drove the car away from the bar, then stopped and robbed Houghton at gunpoint. When Houghton resisted the robbery, Hain forced him into the trunk of the car. A short while later, Hain and Lambert stopped and put Sanders in the trunk as well. The two men went back and drove away Houghton's car and stopped after driving down a rural roadway. The two men took Sanders' belongings, cut the gas line to the car and set it on fire. Houghton and Sanders were banging on the trunk and yelling. Hain and Lambert left the area, but returned a short time later to see if the fire was burning well. Hains was the 22nd murderer executed in the United States since 1976 for a murder committed when they were younger than 18 years old. Lambert remains on death row awaiting execution.


Michael Houghton's mother, Delma Houghton is troubled by the national attention given to death row inmates. "I don't think we are hearing from my side, the victims' side, the people who support the death penalty," she said. "There is much more media going for the perpetrators." Laura's family presented victim impact statements at the trial.

William Sanders, the brother of victim Laura Lee Sanders, testified in part: "The extremely violent nature of this crime and the total lack of respect for human life have shocked ­ shocked me. Absolutely everyone is brought up knowing the difference between right and wrong, and murder is wrong. Once a crime of this magnitude has been committed, a person must expect to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Life, life without parole, and death; these are the choices? All I can say for sure is that I know my sister was not given a choice between life or death. It has been seven years since my sister was murdered, and I'm still looking forward to the time when I can remember who she was and not the horrific images portrayed of her during the various court proceedings. The guilt has been established, and I feel strongly that the punishment should reflect the severity of the crime."

Carol Lee Sanders, Laura Lee Sanders' mother, said "It is very difficult for me to find words to express the horror, anger and disbelief that we felt and still feel, knowing that Laura Lee was put in the trunk of a car and burned alive while the ones who lit the fire listened to their screams for help, and yet only made sure that the car was burning good before they left. Add to that the fact that Laura Lee and Mike had done nothing to deserve this and had no idea who the people were that took it upon themselves to murder them. It is hard for us to imagine that anyone could have that much hate and meanness in them. These things make it even more difficult for us to accept her death. In the past seven years, we have been trying to deal with not only the loss of Laura Lee, but also with the heinous manner in which she was murdered. We know how very scared she must have been from the time she was kidnapped and put in the trunk of her car. It hurts every time I think of the horror that she must have felt during her last minutes on this earth with the smell of gasoline, followed by the smoke, and then the heat of the flames, and having no way to escape. Every time I see a picture of a burning car on television or in a movie, it feels like someone has just kicked me in the stomach. Several months ago, I had to have both of our dogs put to sleep. As I held them while the doctor gave them a shot, I saw them die very peacefully in my arms. I couldn't help but think of Laura Lee and Mike again and wish that they had been able to die that peacefully. In order for true justice to be done in this case, I feel that Scott Hain should also be sentenced to death. Somebody with his mind-set should not be allowed to get off with anything less than the death penalty. There is absolutely no reason why anyone else should ever be subjected to his heinous acts of violence and to go through the pain and suffering that our families have had to endure for the past seven years."  

Delma Houghton, Michael Houghton's mother, testified: "I've tried holding a lighted match to my finger, but I jerked it away. I tried touching the electric element in my stove, but I couldn't. I wanted to hurt myself and take away some of Mike's pain." She further testified, "I never had a chance to say goodbye to Mike. His body was so charred, he had to be buried in a plastic bag. His beautiful hair was burned off, his nimble fingers were burned off. The medical examiner says his sparkly and gentle eyes were like hardboiled eggs, and he tried until he could try no more to beat the trunk open. I do want justice for all of us who loved him, but mostly for Michael and Laura Lee, who are not here to speak for themselves. I believe Scott Allen Hain should be sentenced to death. He did not know Mike or Laura Lee, nor did he care who they were. He wanted to kill someone. We had to have our 10-year-old Golden Retriever put to sleep. I held her while the lethal injection was administered. She quivered a little and went gently to sleep. All I could think of was that I wished Mike and Laura Lee could have met death so gently. Until the death penalty is carried out, there is always the chance he could be released. I believe if you take a life, your life should be taken unless it is self-defense or to save the life of another. The only true justice would be to have Mike and Laura Lee returned to us. We know that cannot be. I feel our families have been serving a death sentence for almost seven years. Mike and Laura Lee received the death penalty without a trial, with no appeals, with no mercy and for no reason; they had committed no crime."  

Ashley Houghton, Michael Houghton's father, testified in part: "All that I, Michael and his family want is justice. I believe that the death sentence is deserved. The brutal way Michael was murdered, the brutal way the murder was carried out and the suffering that Michael and Laura Lee went through in the trunk of the car shows the total disregard for ­ for life that Scott Hain has. He deserves the death penalty."

The victims' family members all stated after the execution that the road to justice had been long and stressful but that they had finally arrived. The families said the execution was not a happy or joyful event but one that will help to let them go on with the rest of their lives with a little peace. "Tomorrow morning we won't have to deal with Scott Allen Hain in our lives," said Mike's mother, Delma Houghton. Laura's mother, Carol Sanders, said Hain's death only brings closure to the court proceedings. "He died peacefully, unlike Michael and Laura Lee," she said. 

The family members of Michael William Houghton and Laura Lee Sanders - They were both murdered by Scott Allen Hain on 6 October 1987. Scott Allen Hain was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 3 April 2003.

Summary: Knighton escaped from a Missouri halfway house where he was serving a sentence for Manslaughter. Along with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Ruth Renee Williams, and a 17-year-old friend, Lawrence Brittain, he began a crime spree through Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas. The group stopped near the Oklahoma farmhouse of Richard Denney, 62, and his wife Virginia, 64. When Richard Denney offered directions and help to the group, Knighton overpowered the couple and shot and killed them in their home. He then robbed the house. Brittain later pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder and is serving two concurrent life sentences. Williams also pleaded guilty as an accessory and received concurrent 15-year prison sentences. Both testified at trial against Knighton. Knighton was also identified as the killer of two Missouri men during the crime spree, Frank T. Merrifield and his stepson, Roy E. Donahue. Knighton had served 17 years in prison for the slaying of a Missouri man in the 1970s.

Robert Knighton, 62, was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m., seven minutes after the fatal drug injection began. In a brief, almost inaudible final statement, Knighton thanked his attorneys and said he was sorry for what he had done. He then spoke to Sue Norton, the adopted daughter of victim Richard Denney, who forgave and befriended Knighton during his trial. "I'll see you again someday. God bless you," he said. She replied with a thumbs-up as the execution began. Knighton became unconscious shortly afterward and his stomach heaved. He appeared to snore for several minutes. His body shook and his face reddened a few times before he stopped breathing. "He just went to heaven," Norton, of Arkansas City, Kan., told her husband, Gene.

Knighton shot and killed Richard and Virginia Denney at their farm near Tonkawa on Jan. 8, 1990, during a three-day crime spree that began with the murders and robbery of two men in Clinton, Mo. He and two co-defendants came away from the Denney residence with $61 and a beat-up pickup truck.

Norton's sister, Maudie Nichols of Oxford, Kan., watched the execution with other family members. She was Denney's biological daughter. She said she forgave Knighton six years ago "because it was the only way I knew to live with my life and not just live in pure hatred." But she said also she felt it was right that he be executed. "It's the law and it's what we need and it's what we uphold," she said. Her stepsister, Maggie Lange of Enid, said justice was done. "Me, I'm happy," she said, holding a picture of the Denneys. "He took my mother's life while she was drinking a cup of coffee."


Family members of Richard and Virginia Denney – They were both murdered by Robert Wesley Knighton on 8 January 1990. Robert Wesley Knighton was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 27 May 2003.

Summary: On Dec. 27, 1976, Spivey shot and killed Charles McCook in a Macon pool hall brawl over $20. Spivey then drove to Columbus and to the Final Approach Lounge at Peachtree Mall. Spivey fatally shot Bill Watson in the head and chest after the off-duty police officer came into the bar to investigate why its door was open beyond the 2 a.m. closing time. The gun shots drew Welton Emmit Allen, the 21-year-old manager of the nearby Briar Rabbit restaurant, into the lounge. Spivey shot Allen five times. Allen survived by playing dead. From the parking lot, Spivey continued shooting and wounded another person. Spivey saw the wounded Allen duck into the Briar Rabbit and fired several more times through a window, hitting an employee of that restaurant, who also survived. Spivey then ordered college professor and part-time bar waitress Mary Jane Davidson to drive him to Alabama. He was captured two miles south of Wedowee, Ala., just before daybreak. Spivey had $360 in cash believed to have come from the bar, along with two guns --- a .38-caliber revolver and a .357 Smith & Wesson that had Watson's name and badge number 197 engraved on the butt. Spivey was sentenced to life in prison for McCook's murder. He was tried twice for killing Watson. The first conviction in 1977 was thrown out because he was "compelled to be a witness against himself in a psychological exam," court records said. In 1983, a second Muscogee jury convicted Spivey of murder, armed robbery and kidnapping. Only one other inmate has been on Georgia's death row longer than Spivey, a mountain of a man at 6-foot-7, 360 pounds. A member of Mensa and a former professional basketball player, his brother was a star 7-foot center for Kentucky's 1951 national championship team before being implicated in a point-shaving scandal that led to his lifetime ban by the NBA.

Clyde McCook, the younger brother of Charles McCook Jr., said he feels a death sentence is appropriate. "He killed my brother," said McCook, who learned about his brother's 1976 murder on the news. "My feeling is he needs to be killed."



Clyde McCook is the younger brother of Charles McCook. Charles McCook and Officer Bill Watson were both murdered by Ronald Keith Spivey on 28 December 1976. Ronald Keith Spivey was executed by lethal injection in Georgia on 24 January 2002.

Summary: On January 21, 1983, Martin revealed a plan to his girlfriend, Josephine Pedro, to rob Robinson's Drug Store. She attempted to dissuade him but said Martin threatened her if she did not cooperate in the robbery. Martin then left the apartment and returned approximately ten minutes later with a gun he had stolen from a security guard. Martin told his girlfriend she was to go to the store and attempt to buy medicine for a cold. When Robert Robinson, owner of the store, unlocked the door to allow her entrance, Martin planned to follow her in and rob the premises. At approximately 12:45 a.m., as planned, Pedro arrived at the store and knocked on the door. Upon recognizing her, Robert Robinson unlocked the door to let her in. However, he locked the door again before Martin had a chance to gain entrance. As Robert stood in front of the door after locking it, two shots were fired through the door, killing Robinson. Police later returned and arrested Pedro and Martin for the murder of Robinson. After several days in jail, Pedro told the police that she had helped set up the robbery by going to the store and that Martin had shot Robert Robinson. Soon afterwards, Martin and his father contacted Pedro asking her to change her statement. An acquaintance, Antoinette Henderson, testified that she lived with Pedro for about five or six months until the middle of December 1982. During December she heard Martin say he was going to rob Robinson's store. He then threatened her with a gun, warning her that she had better not tell anyone of his plan.


"I begged him to get bulletproof glass on that door," Anna Robinson, now 85, said recently, her voice rising and still filled with fury more than 20 years after the shooting. "My husband was good to everybody," she said. "He would give people food on credit. He was a good man. "A life for a life, that's what I say. Period."

Anna Robinson whose husband, Robert Robinson was murdered by Ernest Martin on 21 January 1983. Ernest Martin was executed by lethal injection in Ohio on 18 June 2003.

Summary: A World War II veteran and a paraplegic, 80 year old Robert Pendley and his wife were stabbed and beaten to death outside their home by McElmurry and his wife. Some weeks before they died, the couple hired a man to clear some land so they could see the sunset better. At one point the man came to work along with two people who had been living with him, Harold and Vickie McElmurry. The Pendleys put them to work as well. Several weeks after the work was done, the McElmurrys returned. After spending two days walking through the woods to reach the Pendley home, they visited with the elderly couple, then retreated to the woods. According to McElmurry, he and his wife "shot up" with methamphetamine while trying to decide whether to rob and kill the Pendleys or simply rob them. They returned to the home, finding the elderly couple in the garage. While Vickie McElmurry lured Vivian Pendley away, Harold McElmurry attacked Robert Pendley, stabbing him multiple times with a pair of scissors before beating him with garden instruments and a pipe.Vivian Pendley was also beaten and stabbed to death by McElmurry while his wife held her. The McElmurrys fled with two pistols, $70 cash and the Pendleys' 12-year-old Oldsmobile, crossing the border into Mexico for several days. They were captured when crossing back into the United States near Laredo, Texas, and returned to Oklahoma. McElmurry had prior 1998 convictions for Grand Larceny and Receiving Stolen Property. He waived all appeals of his death sentence. Accomplice Vicki McElmurry was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison.


The murder victims' grandson said he believed McElmurry's apology was sincere. "I forgave Harold about three weeks ago," Robert Pendley Jr. said after the execution. "It was kind of a hard thing to do, just knowing the brutality of the crime he had committed. "I felt like with Harold making the decision he had made tonight (waiving all remaining appeals), I felt like I needed to do that."

Robert Pendley Jr. whose grandparents, Robert and Rosa Pendley were murdered by Harold Loyd McElmurry III on 2 August 1999. Harold Loyd McElmurry III was sentenced to death on 16 June 2000, he waived all his appeals of death sentence and executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 29 July 2003.

Summary: On August 19, 1985, Hawkins, armed with a revolver, forced his way into Linda Thompson's car, as she purchased stamps at a self-service postal station at a shopping mall near her home. Thompson's two small daughters, Lori, age four, and Katie, eighteen months old, were also in the car at the time. According to Hawkins, his original plan was to kidnap Thompson and hold her for ransom. Hawkins drove the victims to the home of his girlfriend, Shirley Pitts, Pitts's 15-year-old nephew, Chris Lovell, and Hawkins's cousin, Dale Shelton, were staying with the couple at that time. At the house, Pitts and Lovell watched the children. Hawkins and Shelton kept Thompson upstairs in the house for several hours. Later that night, they took Thompson to a barn several hundred yards away, where they kept her chained in the barn's loft. Her children remained locked in a bedroom in the house. Shelton and Lovell each raped Thompson. During the night, they did allow Thompson to see her children at the house. In the morning, after permitting Thompson briefly to say goodbye to her daughters, Hawkins and Shelton drove Linda Thompson to a nearby lake, where Hawkins hog-tied and drowned her, while Shelton stood lookout. Hawkins and Shelton dragged the body into a ravine and covered it with brush, then fled the state. Pitts and Lovell left Thompson's daughters with their babysitter. After murdering Thompson and fleeing the state, Hawkins abducted and sexually assaulted two teenage girls; kidnapped and robbed two women; and murdered an acquaintance in Colorado. He killed that victim by hanging him, prosecutors said. Hawkins and Shelton were arrested two months later in Sacramento, Calif., where Hawkins was caught trying to steal a car battery. Both Hawkins and Shelton confessed to the murder and kidnapping. Shelton told police where Thompson’s body was buried. At his trial, Hawkins testified that he had left Thompson near the lake and had turned to walk away when, he claimed, he heard the "shriek of a supernatural creature." He testified that he returned and jumped in the water to try to save Thompson. The jury didn't buy it. Hawkins told his lawyer not to submit any mitigating evidence at trial. Shelton was tried jointly with Hawkins, convicted, and sentenced to life without parole.


She said she had forgiven Hawkins, but the "Bible that I follow as the guidebook for my life decrees that this is his due punishment."








Lori Thompson is the daughter of Linda Ann Thompson. Linda was murdered by Don Wilson Hawkins, Jr. on 20 August 1985. Don was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 8 April 2003.

Summary: Upset and trying to discover who had fired shots into his house two weeks earlier, Bates and Gary Shaver agreed to give an acquaintance, Charles Edward Jenkins, a ride home from a bar. During the ride, the car was stopped and Bates struck Jenkins three times on the back of the head with a shovel, appearing to knock him unconscious. When Jenkins began to moan, Bates struck him again, hog-tied him, and then placed him in the vehicle. On the way back to his campsite, Bates stopped at another friend's house and said, "I’ve got one of the guys that’s been messing with me. Do you want to watch or help?" All his friends declined and Bates drove to a campsite, and tied Jenkins to a tree, continuing to beat and threaten him for information. Bates then untied Jenkins, took him to the back of the truck, and shot him in the neck. Upon questioning, Bates gave a complete confession to police.


Attorneys for the state and Jenkins family' told Easley earlier Tuesday the execution should go forward, saying it was a premeditated, brutal killing. Jenkins' body was thrown into a river. "Life is a valuable thing and my brother's life was taken," said David Jenkins, the victim's brother. "Life is so valuable that it requires a life be paid."


David Jenkins is the brother of Charles Edwin Jenkins who was murdered by Joseph Earl Bates on 11 August 1990. Joseph Earl Bates was executed by lethal injection in North Carolina on 26 September 2003.

Summary: Trueblood was upset with his former girlfriend, Susan Bowsher, because she expressed her intention of going back with her ex-husband. Trueblood picked up Susan and her two small children one day and while they were in the car he shot Susan 3 times in the head, and shot each child once in the head. He then drove to the home of his twin brother, admitted to him what he had done, borrowed a shovel, then drove to a secluded area and buried all three in a shallow grave. After 4 witnesses had testified at trial, Trueblood indicated a desire to plead guilty and did so. When interviewed by the Probation Officer for the Presentence Report, Trueblood claimed that Susan had shot the kids, then killed herself. He then sought to withdraw his guilty plea, which was denied.


In Lafayette Thursday, relatives of those victims gathered to await a phone call from a prison official confirming the death sentence had been carried out. "At least I can give my sister and her children some peace," said Paul Bowsher Jr., Susan Bowsher's brother. "I think after it's all said and done, I think we want to be left alone."

Paul Bowsher Jr. is the brother of Susan Bowsher. Susan Bowsher was murdered by Joseph L. Trueblood on 15 August 1988. Joseph L. Trueblood was executed by lethal injection in Indiana on 12 June 2003.

Summary: Duckett was serving a prison sentence for robbery and assault when he escaped in 1987 and was picked up hitchhiking by 53 year old John Howard, who operated a convenience store. Howard helped Duckett find work and offered to let Duckett stay with him at his apartment. Howard was later found in his apartment beaten to death with a fireplace poker and a wooden ashtray stand. His hands and feet were bound with wire. Two weeks later Duckett was arrested in Clear Creek, Arizona driving John Howard's car. He had switched the license plates on John's car with the plates of another car in the parking lot of Howard's apartment complex. Found in the trunk were blood-stained clothing and bank bags from the store. While being questioned by police, Duckett said that he and Howard had "exchanged blows," but the victim was "on his feet and breathing" when Duckett left the apartment. Duckett told police that he had bound the victim's hands and feet in order to keep Howard from coming at him again. However, an autopsy revealed that Howard's ankle had been broken, his skull fractured, his left eye ruptured and blood splatters were all over the room. Blood smears indicated that the victim had been trying to crawl on the floor before he died. These facts make it unlikely that Howard was "on his feet" when Duckett left the apartment. There were suggestions at trial that Duckett and Howard were lovers. Duckett had also told lawmen that he had been gang raped in prison and that Howard and he got into a fight when Howard made a homosexual pass toward him. Prosecutors countered that Duckett killed Howard when the victim decided to kick Duckett out of the apartment.


Howard's brother, Tom, said Howard had recently returned from New York to help him with his Oklahoma City convenience store business. John Howard had given Duckett a job working in one of the stores. Mark Howard said his father was known for taking people in and helping them out. Both men planned to witness the execution. "It means the man who took my father's life will not be allowed to have that opportunity anywhere else, with anyone else," Mark Howard said.

Mark Howard is the son of John E. Howard. John E. Howard was murdered by Robert Don Duckett on 18 October 1988. Robert Don Duckett was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 8 July 2003.

Summary: In 1987, Ken High, one of the Highs' two adult sons, found his parents dead in their home. Ruth High was found in bed and John High was lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. A gas cooker was also found connected to an open gas jet behind a washing machine. The open gas jet filled the room with a gas odor. There was a large candle on the table in the den. Both Ruth's and John's wills were open on John's desk. All the doors and windows in the house were closed and locked. Although it initially appeared the deaths were accidental, autopsies revealed that Ruth High had been smothered, and John High had been struck in the head with an unknown object, resulting in six lacerations. John's body also had several abrasions that the medical examiner described as defensive wounds, and several broken ribs. The case went unsolved for almost six years until Houston police received an anonymous phone call that indicated Duncan was the killer. Police identified the caller as Robert Alexander, who was involved with both Duncan and Gary High. The three were intimately involved and lived together. Alexander was granted immunity, and the police arranged for him to tape telephone conversations with Duncan, who was then living in Seattle. Duncan made incriminating statements about needing the life insurance money for their failing computer business, and tried to explain the deaths as mercy killings because of the victims' failing health.


Wendy High Thomas, granddaughter of John and Ruth High, read a statement from the family after the execution. "Today, we finally feel that justice has been served," she said. "All of us have had very trying days, especially our dad. We only hope this day will bring some closure for us, but it will never replace our loss or the precious lives that have been taken from us."

Wendy High Thomas whose grandparents, John and Ruth High were murdered by Richard Charles Duncan on 7 October 1987. Richard Charles Duncan was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 3 December 2003.

Summary: All four victims were shot during the robbery at a gas station in Attalla. Police later found the murder weapon and traced it to a gun repair shop partly owned by Fortenberry's father. During questioning by police, Fortenberry led lawmen to the location where he had disposed of the pistol after the slayings. It was the exact area that police had recovered the weapon. Fortenberry also gave several stories about the murders. He told police he needed money because of a gambling habit and was robbing Nelson at gunpoint when Guest tried to talk him into giving up his weapon and the Paynes drove up to the station. He told police he shot Guest and Payne outside the station, returned inside to shoot Nelson, and then fired what he called a "pot" shot at Nancy Payne, who was trying to run for help. Fortenberry later claimed he was at the station, but another man shot the four victims.

Freda Andrews, Nancy Payne's sister, said she was in the witness room Thursday night but chose not to watch Fortenberry die because she was afraid she would never be able to forget the scene. The murders 19 years ago opened a book in which the final chapter was written Thursday with Fortenberry's execution, "and is not to be opened again," she said. "I feel that justice was completed today. I have peace about it." Andrews said the hearts of the victims' family members go out to Fortenberry's family. "They're victims, too," she said.

David Payne, son of the Paynes, said, "I feel in my heart that justice was done today ... I know their family's got sorrow, now. I know what we've been through. I feel for their family. My prayers are with them." Bonnie Ingram, daughter of victim Robert Payne who was 17 when her father was killed, said she still misses him, but "I've forgiven this boy and pray that God will give peace to his mother and peace to us."

Families of Tommy Jerry Fortenberry’s victims – They were murdered by Tommy Jerry Fortenberry on 25 August 1984. Tommy Jerry Fortenberry was executed by lethal injection in Alabama on 7 August 2003.

Summary: At their home in Conroe, Texas, Hayes was hitting his 46 year old wife Mary and chased her into the bedroom of their 10 year old daughter Lauren. Mrs. Hayes tried to crawl under her bed to escape. Hazel Hayes, Larry Hayes' mother, ran to the room and tried to stop her son. At that point, Lauren ran across the street and called 9-1-1. Upon arrival, police found Hazel Hayes wailing inside of the house. She told the police that Hayes and his wife were fighting over Mrs. Hayes's alleged affair with another man. Hazel Hayes stated that she tried without success to stop her son. She said he reloaded his gun and asked her for a kiss before driving off. Mary Hayes had been shot seven times, three times in the head. The police also recovered eight "spent" .44 magnum cartridge casings at the scene. Shortly after killing his wife, Hayes drove to a nearby gas station, where he led the clerk, Rosalyn Robinson, out of the store at gunpoint to her car, where she was shot to death. The kidnapping and the last shot was caught on videotape. Hayes then drove off in her car. Hayes was apprehended in nearby Polk County driving a vehicle stolen from the location of victim Rosalyn Robinson's abandoned car. When officers approached him, Hayes pulled a gun from his waistband and was shot in the back. Hayes waived all appeals.

The jury began deliberating Hayes' fate at 11:30 a.m. and returned with their verdict at 3:20 p.m. Shortly afterwards, state District Judge K. Michael Mayes allowed the mothers of both victims to tell Hayes and others in the courtroom how his acts had affected them and their families. Robinson's mother Ruby Robinson, whose family had never met the defendant, spoke first. "I thought I'd never say this but I want to see your face when you die. You got what you deserved. You could have had my daughter's car, you didn't have to kill her," Robinson said. Now, Ruby Robinson told Hayes, there is "just pain, pain. When I got up every morning, I'd pass by her room and she was there. Now it's just an empty room. An empty room. An empty room."

For Rosa Faust, 72, the feelings were more mixed toward a man she once loved because her daughter loved him. She read from a letter he had written her from jail about two weeks after the killings, in which Hayes asked for her forgiveness. Rosa Faust said she forgave Hayes because "Hate destroys." His hate, she said, had destroyed her daughter and now him. "I forgave you for every hurtful word you said to my daughter and grandchildren. I forgave you for the pain you inflicted on their bodies and minds. "You couldn't hide what you were from me. I knew almost from the beginning," Faust told Hayes. "But I had already forgiven you before you asked. I forgive you. I feel sorry for you," Faust told her son-in-law. "I tell you what: I'd rather be Mary's mother than your mother." Faust looked at her former son-in-law and told him he'd robbed his children not only of a mother but a father as well. Hayes showed no emotion throughout the statements.

Robinson's parents - Lee, 50, a meter technician; and Ruby, a custodian - said in an interview that their daughter died a day before she was to leave work to begin nursing school. "Our whole family has been torn apart," her mother said. "You got what you deserved because you took my baby away from me," Robinson's mother, Ruby, told Hayes in her victim-impact statement after the verdict was read. Holding a photograph of her daughter, the girl's mother told an impassive Hayes, "She was so good. She was a good person, but you said `no' that night and you destroyed her." Mary's son Larry Lundstrom Jr. said of the verdict, "I feel it was very appropriate."

Loved ones of Mary Evelyn Hayes and Rosalyn Ann Robinson – They were both murdered by Larry Allen Hayes on 15 July 1999. Larry Allen Hayes was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 10 September 2003.

Summary: 19 year old college student, Christina Burgin, was last seen alive leaving a lounge with Martin on June 20, 1991. Her decomposed body was found nearly two weeks later in a pumphouse in the rural Louisiana town. She had been choked with a rope, her throat cut, her eyes gouged out, and she finally was killed by someone who jumped up and down on a board placed across her neck. Martin had previous convictions from age 14 and was on parole for an aggravated rape charge. In 1984, Martin had raped his own 14-year-old sister at knifepoint while their mother was in the hospital. He was sentenced to 10 years but served only five. Martin had repeatedly made statements that he would never go back to prison and killed Christina so she would "not complain." Martin and three other inmates briefly escaped from death row in November 1999. Authorities said the 4 condemned men used smuggled hacksaw blades to cut their way through their cell doors. Prison chase teams caught them about 2 miles from their cells.

"I'm ecstatic. I'm happy," Burgin's mother, Diane Godeaux, said during a post-execution news conference. "My smile says it all," said the victim's father, Charles Burgin.



Parents of Christina Burgin - Leslie Dale Martin murdered her in 20 June 1991. He was executed by lethal injection in Louisiana on 10 May 2002.

Harry Walters saw neither the death nor the funeral of his wife of 26 years. But, he will witness the death of her killer to confirm the receipt of justice and closure he says should have been his a decade ago. ''On April 5, 1958, Marlene and I were married, exchanging the vows 'until death do us part.' We were parted by murder,'' Walters says. ''Execution is the solution. The Bible tells me so.''

"The family asks not for your sympathy or even your compassion,'' said Scott Lillard, Mr. Walters' son-in-law.” We ask for justice.''

Family members of Marlene Walters - Alton Coleman (November 6, 1955 – April 26, 2002) was an African-American spree killer. He was executed by the state of Ohio for the murder of 44-year-old Marlene Walters of Norwood, Ohio during a six-state killing spree in 1984.

Summary: In the afternoon of November 21, 1987, Susan Babich parked her car in the rear lot of the Charles Towne Square Shopping Mall in Charleston, South Carolina. After shopping at the mall, she returned to her car. Before she could drive away, however, she was approached by Green, who advanced rifle in hand. Green then shot Ms. Babich in the head, stole her pocketbook, and fled the scene in another car. Based on a description from an eyewitness, the police soon apprehended Green in the vicinity of the mall. The police found the rifle and Ms. Babich's checkbook in Green's car, and Green ultimately gave a statement admitting to his involvement in these crimes.

"For it will serve no purpose in our lives. We seek not mere revenge but what the justice system has deemed necessary and appropriate. Justice has prevailed," they wrote, "and will be served in our conscious absence."


Family members of Susan Babich – She was murdered by Anthony Green on 21 November 1987. Anthony Green was executed by lethal injection in South Carolina on 23 August 2002.

Summary: In July 1989 Patrick broke into the home of a neighbor, 80 year old Nina Rutherford Redd, through a bathroom window. Redd was sexually assaulted before having her throat slashed. Patrick ransacked the home before leaving and was later arrested in Mississippi. A blood-soaked sock was found in the home of Patrick. DNA matched the DNA in Redd's blood sample. Patrick's live-in girlfriend identified the knife found at the scene as theirs. Patrick confessed to the crime shortly after his arrest, but later recanted. Patrick had been convicted of Aggravated Assault in 1986 and sentenced to 4 years probation, which was later revoked.

Rutherford's family expressed compassion for the Patrick family. "Our prayers are for the Patrick family during this sad time of grief," they wrote. "This is not a vendetta or a social event. We all hurt and hope the Patricks can understand our grief for the past 13 years waiting for justice to be done."

Nina Rutherford Redd’s family - Nina Rutherford Redd was murdered by Jessie Joe Patrick on 8 July 1989. Jessie Joe Patrick was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 17 September 2002.

Summary: Williams, a ninth-grade dropout who lived in an adjacent apartment complex, forced his way into the residence of Barbara Pullins at knifepoint, then raped and strangled her with the cord of an iron she had been using. He first tried unsuccessfully to suffocate the school bus driver by placing a plastic bag over her head. The evidence also showed he touched her body repeatedly with a lighted cigarette to make sure she was dead, then tried to burn the corpse. After attacking Barbara Pullins, he entered the bedroom of her daughter and awakened her by strangling her with his hands. Nine year old Jamie Jackson was raped, beaten, and left to die. When she awoke, she discovered her mother's lifeless on the living room floor, then ran to her grandmother's apartment nearby. Williams had stolen Pullins' car and some other items before leaving the apartment. The car was found near Jeffery Williams' residence. Her purse and keys, her television and a video recorder were found inside his home. His thumbprint and palmprint were found in her apartment. In a videotaped statement, Williams confessed to police that he broke into the home intending just to commit theft, then "just went off." Jamie positively identified Williams as her attacker at trial. Williams had 4 prior convictions since 1989 for Auto Theft and one prior conviction for Aggravated Assault for shooting a man who tried to chase him after a Theft. He was paroled from prison 7 months before the murder. It took the jury only 23 minutes to return a death sentence.

Jackson was unable to attend Williams' execution, but a number of Pullins' family members were witnesses. Two of her brothers, her sister and cousin watched as he was put to death. "He showed no remorse. He looked at us with a smile," said William Collins, Pullins' brother. "But it doesn't trouble me now. Justice has been served." Collins said he would tell his niece "justice was served for her mom at 6:17."

William Collins whose sister, Barbara Jackson Pullins was murdered by Jeffery Lynn Williams on 26 October 1993. Jeffery Lynn Williams was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 26 June 2002.

Summary: Monte Tewskbury, married and a father of three children, was "moonlighting and working alone as the clerk at the King Kwik convenience store in Hamilton County, Ohio. At approximately 11:00 p.m., two robbers entered the store in masks; one of them carried a bowie knife with a five-inch blade. The robbers removed all of $133.97 from the cash register. In addition, they took Monte's Pulsar watch, wedding ring, and his wallet which contained cash, credit cards, and an automobile registration slip. Then, as Monte stood with his hands raised and his back to the robbers, Byrd plunged his bowie knife to the hilt in Monte's side, resulting in a puncture wound to the liver that caused massive internal bleeding. The two robbers ripped the inside telephone out of the wall and fled. A short time later, two masked men pulled off a robbery at a similar store, taking the cash register as they fled. Police pulled over a van shortly thereafter, driven by William Danny Woodall, with passengers John Byrd and John Eastle Brewer. Inside the van, coins were found on the floor; stocking masks and a knife located in a tray on the dashboard; a Shell credit card in Mrs. Tewksbury name was lying on the floor; what appeared to be fresh blood was found on the interior side of the driver's seat; a cash register was in the back of the van.

 Mr. Tewksbury's widow, Sharon, said she will be relieved when the case is finally over. She said she will not attend the execution and “will not celebrate the death of John Byrd.” “I can't think about John Byrd's death,” Mrs. Tewksbury said. “What I think is that the justice we've been looking for may finally happen.”


Sharon Tewksbury is the widow of Monte Tewksbury – He was murdered by John William Byrd, Jr. on 17 April 1983. John William Byrd, Jr. was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 19 February 2002.

Summary: The 5 victims were discovered by the Houston Fire Department while extinguishing a house fire on Nov. 13, 1992. They were the mother, father, 2 sisters, and the brother in law of Robert Coulson. In a plan to gain an immediate inheritance, Coulson had individually subdued each victim, bound their hands and feet, and secured a plastic bag over their heads. All five victims died of asphyxia due to suffocation. After the victims were dead, Coulson poured gasoline on the bodies and set the house on fire. An accomplice, Jared Althaus, later confessed his involvement in the premeditated plan to murder Coulson's family. Althaus recanted his two previous statements, confessed that he had helped Coulson plan the murders for several months. Coulson has insisted that he is innocent of the slayings and was at a shopping mall when the attack occurred. However, in custody, Coulson said he did not hate his family as most people thought, but that he was having financial difficulties and this was the only way out. During trial, Coulson denied the testimony of eight witnesses, including his cousin and several police officers, and accused them of lying under oath. Coulson also claimed that three other witnesses were mistaken about what they heard. Althaus pled guilty and received a 10 year sentence.

"Today brings us no joy, only resolution," Linda Payne, Coulson's cousin and the niece of his mother, said in a prepared statement on behalf of the family of the victims. "Robert Coulson committed a horrible crime; he received a fair trial and was found guilty by a jury of his peers. He must now accept responsibility for his actions."

Linda Payne is one of the Coulson’s cousin- they were murdered by Robert Otis Coulson on 13 November 1992. Robert Otis Coulson was executed by lethal injection in Texas on 25 June 2002.

Summary: Along with accomplice Loyd Winford Lafevers, broke into home, beat the 84 year old owner, Addie Mae Hawley, kidnapped her, put her in trunk, doused her with gasoline and set car on fire. She died 5-6 hours later. Both Cannon and Lafevers confessed to participation in the crime, but each said the other was the more active participant. Stole her wedding ring and gave to a stripper the same day. Victim was aunt of Colorado State Senator Chlouber. The murder convictions and death sentences of Lafevers and Cannon were overturned on appeal on grounds that they should have had separate trials. Both were retried separately in 1993, convicted and again sentenced to death. Lafevers was executed in January 2001.

Colorado State Sen. Ken Chlouber, whose aunt was the murder victim, had a different view of Lafevers. "This guy will go to hell, and that's the place for him," the Leadville Republican said.

Chlouber said he can't understand how courts can sentence convicted murderers to life in prison when they could be executed. The killers take the lives of their victims "in cold blood," he said. He called them "sadistic." When LaFevers was put to death, Chlouber said he was "happy." He said it without the slightest hint of irony. Because if he was capable of seeing the irony there, well, it would only upset him that much more.

Ken Chlouber whose 84 year old aunt, Addie Mae Hawley was murdered by Loyd Winford Lafevers and Randall Eugene Cannon on 24 June 1985. Loyd Winford Lafevers and Randall Eugene Cannon were both executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma on 30 January 2001 and 23 July 2002 respectively.

Summary: Jones was a bisexual person who was sometimes employed as a male stripper. He became acquainted with Stanley Albert, with whom he had a homosexual relationship, in late 1985. Jones was 21 and Albert was 49. In November of 1985 Albert purchased a white 1985 Camaro Z28. Beginning in December, Jones told several people that his father was going to help him acquire a white Camaro. On January 16, 1986 at 4:30 p.m. Albert pulled up in front of Jones’ apartment in his Camaro. Jones borrowed a blanket from his roommate and left with Albert in the car. He returned later that day, but left the apartment early the next morning, purchased a shovel with his roommates credit card, and returned in the afternoon. He had the license plates which had previously been on Albert’s Camaro. The next day, he picked a friend up in Topeka, Kansas and headed for Indianapolis in the Camaro, but abandoned the car after being chased by the police for speeding. There was stolen license plates on the car. Albert did not report to work on January 17, and was not seen again. His body was found in a wooded area near Independence on March 2, 1986. The medical examiner estimated that he had been dead between two weeks and several months. The body was wrapped in a blanket identical in appearance to the one Jones has borrowed from his roommate. Albert had been shot five times in the neck and chest. No murder weapon was ever found. Patrick Peters, a former Jackson County prosecutor who tried the case, described Jones as a "schmoozer" who lied to his psychiatrist by initially claiming he was straight. Peters said that while Jones claimed to be upset by Albert's sexual advances, Jones was in fact bisexual and living with a male lover. Peters said Jones plotted the killing after meeting and dating Albert and deciding he wanted his Camaro.

Albert's daughter, Robin Gazi, 32, Kansas City North, said: ``We do feel closure. Not vengeance. We feel that 17 years was not long enough. But that justice was served.'' Gazi and her brother Chris Albert, 30, said their father missed two weddings, three births, two high school graduations, and grandchildren who did not know him. ``We were teenagers just getting to know our father when he died,'' Gazi said.



Robin Gazi whose father, Stanley Albert was murdered by William Robert Jones, Jr. on 16 January 1986. William Robert Jones, Jr. was executed by lethal injection in Missouri on 20 November 2002.