Mississippi executes man who killed girl, 15; state’s 2nd death sentence in 2 days

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mississippi executes 2nd inmate in as many days

PARCHMAN, Miss. — The state of Mississippi on Thursday executed its second death row inmate in as many days, this time a man convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old girl.

Gerald James Holland was declared dead by lethal injection at 6:14 p.m. Thursday. At 72, he was the oldest inmate on the state’s death row.

“I’m really deep down in my heart sorry it happened,” he said before reading the 23rd Psalm from a paper held by the prison chaplain. “I wish this would bring her back. I want you to know that I’m very sorry this ever happened. I knew it was wrong but it was alcohol, despair and temper that caused it.”

“That’s it,” he said when finished.

When the lethal injection was administered, Holland gasped several times, took several deep breaths and was still.

He was convicted in the rape and slaying of Krystal King at his home in 1986. Prison officials say he admitted to drinking heavily that night and killing the girl, but he never admitted to rape.

On Wednesday, Paul Everette Woodward was executed for his 1987 conviction in the rape-slaying of a 24-year-old woman. The Mississippi Department of Corrections said the last back-to-back executions occurred in 1961.

Marcie Walker of Wiggins, the sister of Holland’s victim, witnessed his execution and held a picture of her afterward.

“It took 24 years, 24 of my personal years, to get to this point to see the man die who killed my sister,” she said. “I can really say it is over with. My sister will finally have peace. I believe that.”

“Mississippi should be like Texas and put in an express lane,” she said.

King and a friend went to Holland’s home on Sept. 11, 1986, the day before King’s 15th birthday. Epps said Holland told him he had been drinking heavily at home that night. Court records show Holland’s wife and daughter left him in July or August and he claimed he received a letter finalizing the divorce that day.

King was killed the next morning. Prosecutors said she was raped, beaten and stabbed, and an autopsy showed the cause of death was asphyxiation from a ligature placed around her neck and clothing stuffed down her throat.

Also on Thursday, Virginia death row inmate Darick Demorris Walker, 37, was executed for killing two Richmond men in separate shootings in 1996 and 1997.

When asked for his last words, Walker referred to the extra time it took to insert one of the two intravenous lines in his arms: “Last words being: I don’t think y’all done this right, took y’all too long to hook it up. You can print that. That’s it.”

Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor acknowledged that prison officials had difficulty getting one of the IVs started. There were no visible problems with the injection. Once the drugs started, he took about four deep breaths and then some shorter breaths before being declared dead about four minutes later.

will not be displayed