Mississippi executes man for rape, murder of teen girl

PARCHMAN, Miss. (AP) — A person who raped and killed a 16-year-old woman in Mississippi was put to dying by deadly injection on Wednesday, changing into the second inmate executed within the state in 10 years.

Thomas Edwin Loden Jr., 58, was pronounced useless at 6:12 p.m. by Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton. He’d been on dying row since 2001, when he pleaded responsible to capital homicide, rape and 4 counts of sexual battery towards Leesa Marie Grey. She was stranded with a flat tire in June 2000 when Loden compelled her into his van.

Grey’s mom, Wanda Farris, attended the execution on the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) north of the capital, Jackson. Mississippi’s most up-to-date execution was in November 2021.

Earlier this month, a federal decide declined to dam Loden’s execution amid a pending lawsuit by him and 4 different Mississippi dying row inmates over the state’s use of three medication for deadly injections, a protocol they allege is inhumane.

Through the execution, Loden wore a crimson jail jumpsuit and was lined by a white sheet. Brown leather-based straps held him down on a gurney.

Earlier than the injection began, Loden stated he was “deeply remorseful.”

“For the previous 20 years, I’ve tried to do an excellent deed each single day to make up for the life I took from this world,” Loden stated. “I do know these are mere phrases and can’t erase the harm I did. If immediately brings you nothing else, I hope you get peace and closure.”

He concluded his final phrases by saying “I really like you” in Japanese, officers stated.

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Gray had been working as a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant in northeast Mississippi through the summer time forward of her senior 12 months of highschool. On June 22, 2000, she left work after darkish and bought a flat tire.

Loden, a Marine Corps recruiter with relations within the space, stopped at round 10:45 p.m. and started speaking along with her in regards to the flat. “Don’t fear. I’m a Marine. We do this type of stuff,” he stated.

Loden advised investigators he grew to become offended after Grey allegedly stated she would by no means need to be a Marine, and he ordered her into his van. He spent 4 hours sexually assaulting her earlier than strangling and suffocating her, he advised investigators.

The next afternoon, court docket information say “Loden was found mendacity by the facet of a highway with the phrases ‘I’m sorry’ carved into his chest and obvious self-inflicted lacerations on his wrists.”

Farris described her daughter as a “happy-go-lucky, all the time smiling” teenager who aspired to change into an elementary faculty instructor.

“She wasn’t good, now, thoughts you,” Farris stated. “However she strived to do proper.”

Farris declined to talk to reporters following the execution.

Per week earlier, U.S. District Decide Henry Wingate dominated the execution may proceed, saying the U.S. Supreme Courtroom had upheld a three-drug deadly injection protocol in Oklahoma as just lately as seven years in the past.

In November, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey sought a pause in executions and ordered a “top-to-bottom” overview of the state’s capital punishment system after a sequence of failed deadly injections.

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Mississippi has accomplished “mock executions and drills” on a month-to-month foundation to keep away from a botched execution, Jeworski Mallett, deputy commissioner of establishments for the Division of Corrections, advised reporters.

The Division of Corrections revealed in court docket papers in July 2021 that it had acquired three medication for its deadly injection protocol: midazolam, which is a sedative; vecuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscle groups; and potassium chloride, which stops the center.

Since 2019, solely Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Tennessee have used a three-drug protocol, stated Jim Craig, a MacArthur Heart lawyer, talking at a November court docket listening to.

Craig stated a majority of death-penalty states and the federal authorities used a three-drug protocol in 2008, however the federal authorities and most of these states have since began utilizing one drug.

In accordance with the Demise Penalty Data Heart, 27 states have the dying penalty. There are 36 inmates on dying row in Mississippi.

Demise Penalty Motion, a gaggle against capital punishment, convened a information convention Tuesday in entrance of the state capitol.

“Clearly, one thing in him snapped for him to commit such a horrific crime,” stated Mitzi Magleby, a spokesperson for the Mississippi chapter of Ignite Justice, a company that advocates for legal justice reform. “Mr. Loden was instantly remorseful. Shouldn’t there be room for grace and mercy in such a scenario?”

Loden hoped his execution can be the nation’s final, his lawyer Mark McDonald stated in an announcement following the execution.

At a information convention Wednesday, Burl Cain, commissioner of the Mississippi Division of Corrections, stated Loden absolutely cooperated with officers.

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“He professed his sorrow. However he was fairly upbeat and he ate hardy,” Cain stated. His final meal included two bone-in fried pork chops, candy potatoes, and peach cobbler with ice cream.

Farris, the sufferer’s mom, advised The Related Press on Friday that she forgave Loden years in the past, however didn’t consider his apology.

“I don’t notably need to see any person die,” Farris stated. “However I do consider within the dying penalty. … I do consider in justice.”


Emily Wagster Pettus contributed to this report. Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points. Comply with him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.


Extra of AP’s protection of executions might be discovered at https://apnews.com/hub/executions