Nearly three decades ago, an Idaho man was convicted of stabbing a 31-year-old woman to death. He was arrested in 1984 after the body of a woman he murdered was discovered in her bedroom several days after her death. Police report that the man stabbed her repeatedly with exceptional force and then cut out her sexual organs. The man apparently came from a relatively normal, law-abiding family. He was married and held a job before his arrest. Former 7th District Judge H. Reynold George described the man’s past life as “fathers on the scale when balanced against the grossly inhumane act of murder that went beyond all decency.”
Earlier today, the convicted murderer was executed by at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution and, for the first time, the execution was subject to media witnesses. Last month, the Associated Press and 16 other news groups sued the Department of Correction because they were not allowed to witness an execution that took place last November, claiming that the department barred witnesses from viewing the execution.
Now, the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow members of the media to view executions, starting this morning. Immediately after the convict and prison officials entered the execution chamber, witnesses were allowed to oversee the whole process. Media witnesses were able to observe as IV catheters were inserted into the man’s body and witness his death at 10:25am. Four reporters were present, and they all agreed that it was crucial to see the execution process from start to finish. They hope to give the public a better understanding of the process or of any potential difficulties.
The reporters said that the execution was relatively uneventful, and that the man didn’t make any final statement. Prison officials said that “I am grateful that we have four media witnesses here to tell you what they saw. Our goal was to make this as professional as possible with dignity and respect, and I believe we met that mark” In some instances, the use of IV catheters has been protested because it may cause delays, excruciating pain or other problems. Witnesses reported no such incidents during the execution today.
In compliance with the federal court order, prison officials wore masks and goggles to maintain their anonymity during the process. Prison officials held two dress rehearsals to ensure than the execution would go as planned and to give the execution team a change before the actual process to adjust to the new policy brought about by the news groups. During the execution, almost 30 people gathered outside of the prison to protest the lethal injection, but Tom Moss, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the cases nearly 30 years thought that the execution right. “Justice was done today,” he said.