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.