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Earl Wesley Berry - Mississippi Execution - May 21, 2008
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Thread: Earl Wesley Berry - Mississippi Execution - May 21, 2008

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    Earl Wesley Berry - Mississippi Execution - May 21, 2008


    Mary Bounds, 56




    Facts of the Crime:
    Convicted and sentenced to death in the November 29, 1987 murder of Mary Bounds.

    Mary Bounds, age 56, was reported missing on November 29, 1987. A few days later her vehicle was located in Houston, Mississippi. Inspection of the vehicle revealed spattered blood around the driver’s side door. Her body was found nearby. She had been severely beaten. It was later determined that she died of head injuries from repeated blows. Earl Wesley Berry’s confession provided the details of what transpired.

    On the evening of November 29, 1987, while driving through Houston in his grandmother’s vehicle, Berry saw Mary Bounds near a church. As she was preparing to enter her vehicle, he approached and forced her into his vehicle, ultimately driving to a wooded area out of town. Mary pleaded with Berry, but he beat her with his fists and forearm. Afterwards, he carried her further into the woods and left her. Berry's brother called the police after he witnessed suspicious behavior. Berry was arrested at his grandmother’s home and soon confessed to the crime. Police found the mismatched tennis shoes Berry had discarded in a pond, along with bloodied towel.

    Victim: Mary Bounds

    Time of Death: 6:15 pm

    Manner of Execution: Lethal Injection

    Last Meal: Barbecue pork chops, barbecue pork sausages, buttered toast, salad (heavy on the onion), mashed potatoes and gravy, pecan pie, and any juice. For breakfast he had two biscuits, sausage, rice and coffee.

    Final Words: "No comment. It's in God's hands now."

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    May 21, 2008

    Convicted Killer Executed; Family Has Received Justice

    Convicted killer Earl Wesley Berry uttered his last words — "no comment" — just minutes before he was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. today at Parchman. Berry, who wore red pants, a white T-shirt and socks, was strapped to a metal table. He received a lethal cocktail of drugs and died. His death comes more than 20 years since he was convicted of beating 56-year-old Mary Bounds to death in Houston, Miss. in 1987.

    Following the execution, Bounds' husband, Charles Bounds, spoke to reporters. "I don't have much to say. I just think it took too long," he said. "I have had this on my mind for 20 years, and it really takes a lot out of me." Bounds then spoke harshly to Mississippi Department of Corrections Commission Chris Epps, though Epps was not the one who halted the execution. Tonight, they hugged. "Justice has just now been brought to bear against the man who admitted killing (Mary Bounds)," Epps said.

    Bounds' daughter, Jena Watson, also spoke, saying her mother would have wanted people to forgive Berry. "Tonight, we feel that we have received justice for what was done," she said.

    Just hours before his execution, Epps described Berry as somber and serious, realizing his death was imminent and giving up hope that the U.S. Supreme Court was going to grant either of his last-minute appeals. “I used to be his case manager. So, I’ve been knowing him for a while,” Epps said. “He’s pretty serious now. He’s not grinning like he was in October.” The U.S. Supreme Court denied both Berry's appeals of his execution earlier this afternoon.

    Berry, 49, was convicted in 1988 of beating 56-year-old Mary Bounds to death and leaving her body in a wooded area of Chickasaw County in 1987. Epps said he stood in front Berry's cell this afternoon and said, "Inmate Berry do you have any remorse for what you did to Mrs. Bounds? "He said he had no remorse and felt that after 21 years he had paid for it," Epps continued. "He understood the question and that was the answer he gave."

    Berry finished his last meal about 4:35 p.m. and was given a sedative. He elected not to take his last shower and has not made any phone calls today. However, his mother, brother, sister-in-law and two friends visited him earlier today.

    In October, when Berry originally was scheduled to die by lethal injection, his execution was halted at the last minute. Berry said today "he is 99.9 percent sure he will be executed," Epps said.

    Berry’s attorneys have argued that Berry should have been spared because he is mentally retarded and because Mississippi’s lethal injection process is cruel.

    Earlier today, Daryl Neely, policy adviser for Gov. Haley Barbour, read Berry the governor's letter denying a stay of execution. "I find no justification to grant your clemency," a portion of the letter said. Berry "visibly shook" and was close to tears, Neely said.

    Berry had said he did not want any of his family members to witness his execution, but he later changed his mind, Epps said. His brothers, William Wallace Berry and Daniel Ross Berry, were approved to view the death, though they declined to do so. "It appears there will not be anybody there from the inmate's family," Epps said. Roughly 40 members of Bounds' family also will be at Parchman, though only two were to witness the execution: Bounds' daughter and granddaughter.

    Following Berry's execution, his body was to be released to Wise Funeral Home in Eupora.

    Half a dozen anti-death penalty and one pro-death penalty activist were at Parchman today. Tom O’Flaherty, a former defense attorney from Iowa City, Iowa, said he came out to speak against state-ordered executions partly because he doubts the judicial system’s infallibility. “People are represented by lawyers, and they make mistakes. Judges and juries make mistakes,” he said. “None of us can know for sure if a person deserves that penalty.”

    Several yards away, Ann Pace of Jackson stood alone with a sign bearing pictures of her daughter who was killed by a man named Derrick Todd Lee in 2002. Charlotte Murray Pace was 22. Her mother described her four years, so far, of waiting for Lee’s execution as “hideous.” While she said Lee’s death may not bring closure, she thinks it may bring peace. “I have this constant awareness of him breathing air, visiting with his family, doing all those things that he denied so many people, that he denied my daughter,” Pace said. “(Once he is dead), he will not be at my table. He will not be in my head. Then, it will be all about Murray and not about him.”

    The last time Charles Bounds and his family came to Parchman, they left upset. Berry's execution, which had been scheduled for October 2007, was halted just 19 minutes before he was to die.

    (Source: The Clarion-Ledger)

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