'God bless the victim,' says governor as Texas executes Karla Faye Tucker
Apparently it took eight minutes to pronounce her dead. Witnesses said she had smiled, hummed and coughed twice before she fell silent. Her eyes never closed. The final statement issued by her ended: "I love you all."
It was an ordinary death as far as executions go. Because it was by lethal injection there was no leap of flames, as occasionally happens with electrocutions, and no crack of bullets. The only signs that she had been successfully dispatched were a whoosh of air from her collapsing lungs and then the limpness of the body.
Ordinary was exactly how the authorities, from officials at the prison to the governor of Texas, George Bush, the former president's son, wanted this execution to be depicted. Never mind, they insisted, that Tucker, 38, who has never denied participating in the brutal pickaxe slaying of two Houston people in 1983, was a woman; the first woman, in fact, to be put to death by Texas since the Civil War. "God bless the victim," said Governor Bush when he announced hours before her death, that he would not grant a reprieve.
And never mind that this convict seemed to be a picture of redemption - a former teenage prostitute and drug abuser who in prison had become a born-again Christian and religious counsellor. Even Pat Robertson, the Conservative evangelist, had argued for salvation.
But those were the elements, of course, that made this case extraordinary, even in a state that leads the US in executions and in Huntsville itself where all Texan executions take place. The city is usually numb to its special distinction, but last night was different.
While one bar offered a post-Karla karaoke party, the city's main Episcopal church held an unprecedented service of prayer for Tucker at the hour of her death.
Her demise was sealed early yesterday afternoon when word came that a last-minute appeal to the US Supreme Court, protesting the clemency process in Texas, had failed.
Mob protests, page 13
Death chamber, page19
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...
£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...
£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...