UNITED STATES. VIRGINIA EXECUTES MICHAEL LENZ FOR SLAYING OF INMATE
July 28, 2006: Michael Lenz, a man who stabbed a fellow inmate to death during a pagan religious ceremony, was executed on July 27. Lenz, 42, had no final words before the lethal drugs were injected. He was pronounced dead at 9:07 pm at the Greensville Correctional Center.
Lenz and another inmate, Jeffrey Remington, were sentenced to death in 2000 for stabbing 41-year-old Brent Parker a combined 68 times with makeshift knives at the Augusta Correctional Center. The three were followers of the Nordic pagan religion, Asatru, and belonged to a group known as the Ironwood Kindred. The group was gathered for a ceremony when Lenz and Remington attacked Parker at the foot of a makeshift altar.
Lenz testified that Parker had not been taking the religion seriously, and to protect the honor of the gods, Parker had to be punished. Lenz also testified he felt threatened by Parker, who was serving a 50-year sentence for murder. Lenz had been serving a 29-year sentence on a burglary and weapon possession conviction before he was sent to death row.
The US Supreme Court rejected his appeals and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine denied his request for clemency. Lenz met with his mother and two uncles for two hours in the afternoon prior to his execution. He made no last meal request.
Attorney A. Lee Ervin, who prosecuted the Lenz case, said Lenz deserved to die because of the brutality of his attack.
Remington committed suicide on death row in 2004.
The death penalty is authorized in 38 of the 50 US states, as well as by federal government. Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma account for more than half of the executions.
The number of people executed in the United States since 1977, when the Supreme Court ended a 10-year moratorium on capital punishment, passed 1,000 in December. (Sources: Associated Press Writer, 28/07/2006)