This week in 2000
Last oral statement:
“No sir, I just want to pray a chant; do what you have to do.”
— Timothy Lane Gribble, convicted of rape and murder, lethal injection, Texas.
Executed March 15, 2000
Gribble, a roofer with a history of mental illness and drug abuse, confessed to the 1987 rape and murder of NASA employee Elizabeth Jones. He was also charged but never tried for killing Donna Weis. Although Gribble did not take issue with his own death sentence, he spoke out against the death penalty itself.
This week in 1988
“I was not guilty for the charge for which I was arrested and this morning I tell you I am not guilty of the charge for which I am about to be executed. I go this morning with a clear conscience. I bear no guilt. I’m at peace with myself, with the world, with each of you. God bless you.”
— Willie Jasper Darden, convicted of murder, electric chair, Florida.
Executed March 15, 1988
Despite intervention from Amnesty International, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Superman actress Margot Kidder, Darden died for the shooting death of James Turman, a furniture store owner. Turman’s wife identified Darden as the man who robbed her of fifteen dollars and forced her to perform oral sex on him as her husband lay dying from a gunshot “between the eyes.” Darden maintained his innocence for fourteen years on death row and claimed to have an alibi to prove it.
This week in 1661
“For bearing my testimony for the Lord against deceivers and the deceived, I am brought here to suffer. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
— William Leddra, convicted of disobeying banishment, hanging, Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Executed March 14 (sometimes recorded as March 24), 1661
Despite the executions of three fellow Quakers in the colony, Leddra had refused to stop preaching. He was the last Quaker to hang in Boston and is sometimes recognized as a fourth “Boston martyr.”