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Leslie Lowenfield - Louisiana Execution - April 13, 1988
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Thread: Leslie Lowenfield - Louisiana Execution - April 13, 1988

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    Leslie Lowenfield - Louisiana Execution - April 13, 1988

    Summary of Offense: Convicted of killing his girlfriend and four members of her family

    Victims: Shiela Thomas, Shantel Osborne, Carol Osborne, Owen Griffin and Myrtle Griffin

    Time of Death: 12:25 a.m.

    Manner of execution: Electric Chair

    Last Meal:

    Final Statement: ''Don't give up on me, although my life will be over tonight, because the one responsible is still out there.''

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    April 14, 1988


    ANGOLA, La., April 13 — Leslie Lowenfield was executed in the electric chair early today, denying to the end that he had killed his former girlfriend and four of her relatives, including her 4-year-old daughter, in a jealous rage.

    ''Don't give up on me, although my life will be over tonight, because the one responsible is still out there,'' Mr. Lowenfield, 34 years old, said after he was led into the death chamber at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

    The execution went ahead shortly after a final appeal by Mr. Lowenfield's lawyer to the United States Supreme Court failed. Although Justices William J. Brennan Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Harry A. Blackmun and John Paul Stevens indicated support for a stay of execution, the other five did not.

    The lawyer, Judith Menadue, argued that Mr. Lowenfield was a paranoid schizophrenic who could not understand what it would mean to be executed or why he was being executed. Fourth Execution of Year

    Earlier, she lost appeals to the Louisiana Supreme Court, a Federal district judge and a Federal appeals court.

    Mr. Lowenfield was pronounced dead at 12:25 A.M.

    It was the nation's fourth execution this year and Louisiana's second. The state has put to death 17 prisoners since it resumed executions in 1983. Mr. Lowenfield was the 97th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court restored the legality of the death penalty in 1976.

    Mr. Lowenfield, a welder from Guyana who came to the United States from Canada in 1975 on a work permit, spent most of his final hours with Dale Brown, the head basketball coach at Louisiana State University, and two spiritual advisers.

    Prosecutors said Mr. Lowenfield barged into his former girlfriend's house in Marrero, a suburb of New Orleans, on Aug. 30, 1982, and shot everyone there as most of them were eating boiled crabs at a kitchen table.

    The victims were the estranged girlfriend, Sheila Thomas, 27, who was a Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy; her daughter, Shantel Osborne, 4; Ms. Thomas's stepfather, Owen Griffin, 45; her mother, Myrtle Griffin, 44, and Shantel's father, Carl Osborne, 33. Refused Insanity Defense

    Mr. Lowenfield was found competent to stand trial in 1984, and he refused to allow his lawyers to use insanity as a defense. He insisted instead that he was in Jacksonville, Fla., when the family was killed.

    The prosecutors said Mr. Lowenfield was jealous of Mr. Osborne. They said Mr. Lowenfield and Ms. Thomas had lived together until earlier in the summer of 1982 when he set the house on fire and she moved out.

    He was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and two of manslaughter, and received three death sentences.

    Mr. Brown, a Roman Catholic priest and a nun arrived about 9 P.M. to spend Mr. Lowenfield's final hours with him, said the warden, Hilton Butler.

    Mr. Brown had been corresponding with Mr. Lowenfield since taking the L.S.U. basketball team on a tour of death row in 1984, Mr. Butler said.


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