Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Convicted killer hoping Supreme Court will grant appeal in 6 o'clock execution

By Kathleen Baydala

PARCHMAN — Earl Wesley Berry is still hoping his appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court will be granted, though his execution for beating a woman to death in 1987 is about three hours away.

"He cried quite a bit when we visited with him this morning," Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said during a press briefing this afternoon at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. "He's very concerned."

No word has come so far from the high court.

Though Berry is in a somber mood, he has not expressed any remorse for the killing, officials said.

"He has not expressed any sorrow" except over the time he's spent in prison, said Daryl Neely, policy adviser to Gov. Haley Barbour.

Berry, 48, was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Mary Bounds in the small Mississippi town of Houston nearly 20 years ago. Berry confessed to the killing.

Berry has been on death row 19 years. Despite numerous appeals, he is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. by lethal injection.

Berry was placed in an isolated cell near the execution chamber on Sunday. He also was baptized that day.

This morning, Berry ate about a third of his large breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, grits, sausage and pancakes. He also had a healthy appetite at lunch, eating turkey salad and a biscuit but forgoing the vegetables, Epps said.

This afternoon, Berry has been visiting with his mother, several of his siblings, his two attorneys and a prison spiritual advisor.

Twenty-five members of the victim's family will be at Parchman this evening for the execution, Epps said. At least two members will witness Berry's death.

Berry requested that two of his brothers also be witnesses, but they declined, Epps said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from "A Hanging" by George Orwell:

"It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working — bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming — all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned — reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone — one mind less, one world less."