MISSISSIPPI (USA). CONVICTED MURDERER EXECUTED
May 21, 2008: Mississippi put a convicted murderer to death by lethal injection in the second U.S. execution since the Supreme Court lifted an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty last month.
Courts rejected final appeals by Earl Wesley Berry's lawyers who argued he was mentally retarded and that the cocktail of three drugs used in the lethal injection method represented cruelty banned under the Constitution.
Berry, 49, was convicted in 1988 of beating 56-year-old Mary Bounds to death. He kidnapped Bounds outside her Houston, Mississippi, church in November 1987, killed her and dumped her body in a wooded area. He later confessed to the crime.
He was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. local time at Parchman prison, said Tara Booth, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Berry had been scheduled to be executed last October but he received a last-minute stay because of the national moratorium on executions effectively in place after the U.S. Supreme Court said in September it would hear an appeal by two death row inmates in Kentucky against the use of the lethal drugs.
The court on April 16 rejected a challenge to the three-drug cocktail used in most U.S. executions, which opponents claimed inflicted unnecessary pain. Georgia then conducted an execution on May 5.
It was Mississippi's eighth execution since the Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976. (Sources: Reuters, 21/05/2008)