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Edward Earl Johnson - Mississippi Execution - May 20, 1987
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Thread: Edward Earl Johnson - Mississippi Execution - May 20, 1987

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    Edward Earl Johnson - Mississippi Execution - May 20, 1987




    Summary of Offense: Convicted of the June 2, 1979 slaying of the Walnut Grove night marshal, J.T. Trest, who was shot five times, twice in the head, with his own pistol while he lay on the ground. The marshal was investigating a burglary call.

    Victim: J.T. Trest

    Time of Death: 12:21 a.m.

    Manner of execution: Gas Chamber

    Last Meal:

    Final Statement: “I guess nobody is going to call. Please let's get it over with!''

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    May 20, 1987

    MAN IS EXECUTED IN MISSISSIPPI CASE


    PARCHMAN, Miss., Wednesday, May 20 — The State of Mississippi carried out its first execution in nearly four years early today after three Federal courts and Gov. Bill Allain rejected appeals on behalf of the condemned man, Edward Earl Johnson, who was convicted of killing a town marshal.

    At 12:06 A.M. this morning, sodium cyanide crystals were dropped into a sulfuric acid solution, releasing poisonous fumes into the state's gas chamber. Mr. Johnson was pronounced dead at 12:21 A.M., Ken Jones, a Department of Corrections spokesman, said.

    Mr. Johnson, 26 years old, had waited quietly in a cell 30 feet from the gas chamber at the maximum-security prison here as his lawyers pushed eleventh-hour bids to save his life.

    On Tuesday the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and a Federal district judge all refused to interfere in the execution.

    In a 20-page opinion today Judge William F. Barbour of the Federal District Court denied a request for a stay. Mr. Johnson's attorneys contended that he had ineffective counsel during his trial, that he had become insane or incompetent and that Mississippi's captial punishment law at the time was unconsitutional because it limited consideration of mitigating circumstances.

    Several hours later, the appeals court upheld Judge Barbour's decision. Governor Declines to Intervene

    About 90 minutes before the execution, Governor Allain, said: . ''After a thourough, deliberate and prayerful consideration of this matter, I have determined that it would not be proper for the Governor to intervene as to the order issued by the Mississippi Supreme Court.''

    Mr. Johnson was the 72nd person executed in the United States since 1976, when the United States Supreme Court allowed states to restore the death penalty.

    Mr. Johnson was convicted of the June 2, 1979, slaying of the Walnut Grove night marshal, J.T. Trest, who was shot five times, twice in the head, with his own pistol while he lay on the ground. The marshal was investigating a burglary call.

    The United States Supreme Court, which turned down one appeal on March 30, refused Monday to reconsider its earlier rejection.

    The gas chamber was last used for the execution of Jimmy Lee Gray on Sept. 2, 1983, for the murder and molesting of a 3-year-old girl.

    Mr. Johnson has asked that his family not witness the execution.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/05/20/us...xecuted&st=nyt

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