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US carries out 1st electrocution in years

17 January 2013, 16:18

Washington - An American who murdered two fellow inmates while serving a life sentence was put to death by electric chair, a first such execution since 2010, authorities said.

Robert Gleason, a 42-year-old former tatoo artist, was declared dead at 21:08, said Larry Traylor, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections in the state of Virginia

Gleason was serving a life sentence for a 2007 murder when he strangled a 63-year-old prisoner in 2009 and another, aged 26, while he awaited sentencing.

"Gleason has expressed no remorse for these horrific murders. He has not sought to appeal his convictions and has not filed a petition for clemency," Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said in a statement.

He added that he "found no compelling reason to intercede”.

In press interviews, Gleason asked to be executed quickly to keep from killing and, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre, told the court at his trial that he wanted the death penalty.

His defence team, however, had sought to save his life, highlighting his traumatic childhood, psychiatric woes, and history of drug and alcohol abuse.

"Gleason has said that he wants the 16 January execution to 'go as is,'" McDonnell said, adding that "he has been found competent by the appropriate courts to make all of these decisions".

Gleason, who received no visitors on Wednesday, chose death by electrocution instead of lethal injection, according to Traylor.

His execution will be the first by electric chair in the US since that of Paul Powell in Virginia on 18 March 2010, according to the DPIC.

It said 157 executions out of 1 320, including 30 in Virginia, have been by electrocution since the US reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Gleason's execution also marks the first of 2013 and the first in Virginia since August 2011.

In 2012, 43 inmates were executed in the US, the DPIC said.


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