ATMORE, Ala. — An Alabama prison inmate was executed Thursday for the 1995 rape, robbery and murder of a 70-year-old woman.
Eddie Duval Powell, 41, was put to death by injection at 6:30 p.m. at Holman Prison in Atmore. With his last words, he apologized to the victim's family, his family and to "everyone in the state."
"I'd like to say I'm sorry for all the pain I caused to everyone," Powell said when Warden Tony Patterson asked if he had anything to say. Powell added, "I'd like to say I've made peace with myself and God. Now everyone can move on."
Powell then laid his head down and blinked his eyes. Prison chaplain Chris Summers walked over and held Powell's hand and kneeled beside the inmate and prayed.
A moment later Powell raised his head and with a confused look on his face, glanced around the death chamber. He then dropped his head back down and appeared to be unconscious.
Earlier in the evening the U.S. Supreme Court denied Powell's appeals to stop the execution.
He was sentenced to die for raping, robbing and shooting to death 70-year-old Mattie Wesson at her home in Holt in Tuscaloosa County early on the morning of March 25, 1995.
After the execution, Mattie Wesson's sons, William Wesson, Curtis Wayne Wesson and Jerold O'Neal Wesson issued a written statement saying "justice had been served" with Powell's execution.
"Because of her untimely death, Mrs. Wesson was never able to meet four of her grandchildren and none of her four great-grandchildren," the sons said in the statement. "These children will never be able to hear her sweet voice and her infectious laugh. They will never be able to know about her gentle spirit or her wonderful sense of humor. She'll never be able to teach them about her loves in life — fishing, playing cards with friends for nickels and dimes, and cooking."
Mattie Wesson's sons offered their condolences to Powell's family.
"We would like to offer our condolences to the family of Mr. Powell. We truly understand the grief they are experiencing. It is our prayer that Mr. Powell has found forgiveness from our Lord Jesus and that he will spend eternity in Heaven," the sons said in the statement.
Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett said Powell had been "relaxed and talkative" Thursday and spent some of his time writing letters.
Corbett said Powell made no special request for a last meal and turned down breakfast Thursday morning. Later in the day he ate two meatball subs, a chicken sandwich, two bags of corn chips and three Sunkist grape sodas from prison vending machines.
Powell's family was to claim his body after the execution. He gave some photos to his mother and the rest of his possessions, including a 13 inch black and white television.
One of his appeals said the court should stop the execution because Powell is mentally challenged. That appeal was rejected earlier this week by the Alabama Supreme Court.
The other appeal, turned down Wednesday by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Alabama recently changed a key drug used in the execution cocktail and that could cause Powell extreme pain and suffering. The state switched the first drug used in executions from sodium thiopental to pentobarbital because of a nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental.
The 11th Circuit rejected Powell's appeal, saying the switch in drugs was not a significant change and Powell waited too long to raise the issue.Comment on this story
Powell became the fourth person executed in Alabama this year and the second person since the state switched drugs in the execution cocktail.
Jason Oric Williams was executed using the new cocktail on May 19 for the 1992 killing of four people during a shooting spree in Mobile County.
Court records show that Powell was working at a Tuscaloosa restaurant at the time he killed the woman and was living with a co-worker across the street from Wesson's home.
Powell was accused of breaking into the home, raping Wesson and shooting her as she tried to escape. Wesson's blood was found later on Powell's pants and on a jacket Powell had borrowed from his roommate.