[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- GEORGIA
j_sommer at gmx.net
Wed Mar 2 18:02:39 CST 2005
death penalty news
March 2, 2005
Ken Stanford: Witness to an execution
I watched the state of Georgia put a man to death Tuesday night. It was the
first time I have witnessed an execution in nearly 40 years in this
business as a reporter.
There were four of us - media witnesses - along with a number of other
witnesses, including two who were there on behalf of the condemned, Stephen
Anthony Mobley, who had shot and killed a Domino's Pizza store manager in
Oakwood in 1991. (Domino's played a prominent role in the Mobley case as it
worked its way through the appeals process. Did he or did he not hang a
Domino's pizza box in his cell? Did he or did he not tatoo the word
Domino's into his body? Did he or did he not made derogatory and/or
threatening remarks to prison personnel making reference to Domino's
deliverymen while doing so?)
Most of those in the room had some official connection to the case as a
local and state law enforcement official - such as former Hall County
Sheriff Bob Vass who is now on the state Board of Corrections; Hall County
D.A. Jason Deal; and the two Hall County sheriff's detectives worked the
case. They and ten others of us were seated on three wooden benches;
another 15-or-so, all of them with the state prison system - were standing
around the walls of the room.
The media witnesses were the last to enter the small room and we sat on the
last row - with a clear view of Mobley through a glass window in the wall
separating the witness room and the execution chamber. He had his head off
the gurney and was looking into the room.
It was 7:45.
He made a final statement, requested a prayer which the prison chaplin
delivered preceded by the reading of a brief passage from the Bible. With a
light touch to Mobley's left wrist, the chaplin left the room and the
warden read the death warrant.
As he did so, Mobley raised his head again, looked into the witness room
and mouthed the words "Thank you" to one of his friends.
It was 7:52.
To carry out lethal injections, the state of Georgia uses three drugs. The
first puts the condemned to sleep. The second shuts down the respiratory
system. The third stops the heart.
Resting his head on the gurney, Mobley swallowed , raised his head, looked
into the room again, winked at one of his representatives, laid his head
back on the gurney. He licked his lips, blinked his eyes and took a deep
breath. His eyes then closed and there was no more movement except the
rise-and-fall of his chest as he took his last breaths. They were rapid ones.
The pace of my breathing increased; my heart rate increased.
The witness room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop - somewhat
surreal. The only sound was that of pencil point on notepad as those of us
with the media made note of what was happening. No one moved. All eyes were
fixed on Mobley.
Then he stopping breathing. The seconds ticked by, dragging into minutes -
seemingly like an eternity, but not.
There was a marked change in the color of his skin - something we had been
told to expect at or near the time of death.
Then two doctors entered the death chamber. One checked for a heartbeat and
looked into his eyes. The second did the same. Then came a nod to the
warden - indicating that the execution had been carried out.
It was 8:00.
The warden formally announced that the execution had been carried out and
we were ushered out of the witness room, back into our van, and returned to
the media staging area near the entrance to the prison grounds.
Shortly afterward, I was headed home up I-75.
But, there was one final footnote to the evening: up ahead was a
tractor-trailer. As I got closer and prepared to pass, I noticed that it
was, irony of ironies --- a Domino's Pizza truck.
(source: accesnorthga.com; Ken Stanford is the News Director for WDUN AM
550, SPORTS RADIO 1240 THE TICKET and MAJIC 1029 and is Editor of
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