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James Terry Roach (JUVENILE) - South Carolina Execution - January 10, 1986
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Thread: James Terry Roach (JUVENILE) - South Carolina Execution - January 10, 1986

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    James Terry Roach (JUVENILE) - South Carolina Execution - January 10, 1986


    Mugshot and original caption: Condemned killer James Terry Roach pauses during an interview with a Columbia newspaper, less than 24 hours before his execution.


    Summary of Offense: Roach, of Seneca, pleaded guilty in October 1977 to killing Tommy Taylor, 17, and Carlotta Hartness, 14, who were attacked as they sat in a car parked near their high school. Taylor was shot in the face, and Hartness was taken to nearby woods, raped, shot in the back of the head and mutilated.

    Victims: Tommy Taylor and Charlotta Hartness

    Time of Death: 5:16 a.m.

    Manner of execution: Electric Chair

    Last Meal: His last meal came from Red Lobster in West Columbia, South Carolina.

    Final Statement: "I leave you comfortable that I've been forgiven in my sins, just as I have forgiven those who have done this to me," Roach said in his last statement.

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    January 11, 1986

    Man executed for crimes committed as 17-year-old

    COLUMBIA, S.C. - James Terry Roach, calm and confident his sins had been forgiven, was executed Friday for a pair of murders he committed as a 17-year-old, despite pleas for clemency by Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter and other international figures.

    "I pray that my fate will some day save another kid that ends up on the wrong side of the tracks," the 25-year-old Roach said in his final statement after being strapped in the state's electric chair at 5 a.m.

    He was pronounced dead at 5:16 a.m., said Doug Catoe, a deputy corrections commissioner.

    Roach, the first juvenile offender to be executed involuntarily since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976, seemed comforted by assurances that his case had focused attention on the issue of capital punishment for juvenile crimes, his attorney, David Bruck, said.

    "I told him that the tremendous attention the last few days that suddenly and at last has been paid to his case would help (others like him), and he came back to that and asked several times if . . . I really thought that was true," Bruck said. "He seemed to draw some comfort when we told him that we really did think that."

    A Texas inmate, Charles Rumbaugh, 28, was executed Sept. 11 for a murder committed during an armed robbery when he was 17, but he did not fight the penalty.

    Roach, of Seneca, pleaded guilty in October 1977 to killing Tommy Taylor, 17, and Carlotta Hartness, 14, who were attacked as they sat in a car parked near their high school. Taylor was shot in the face, and Hartness was taken to nearby woods, raped, shot in the back of the head and mutilated.

    Joseph Carl Shaw, a co-defendant, was executed for the same crime Jan. 11, 1984. Roach always claimed Shaw was the triggerman.

    Bruck said on ABC-TV's "Nightline" that the murder of the teen-agers was "horrible."

    `ould be spared because he suffered from Huntington's disease, a mentally debilitating condition, and because international accords prohibit the execution of prisoners who were younger than 18 at the time of their offense.

    While South Carolina law does not forbid the execution of minors, age is considered in sentencing. A bill outlawing the execution of minor offenders is pending in the state Senate.

    The U.S. Supreme Court, with two dissenting votes, dashed Roach's last hope of a stay of execution late Thursday.

    Appeals from international human rights groups and individuals such as U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Mother Teresa and former President Carter failed to persuade Gov. Dick Riley to grant clemency.

    "I leave you comfortable that I've been forgiven in my sins, just as I have forgiven those who have done this to me," Roach said in his last statement.

    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/ar...-year-old.html

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