State corrections officials say convicted murderer Earl Wesley Berry was executed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. Berry's execution came at 6:15 p.m CDT Wednesday.
Berry had hoped for a last-minute stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, but the full court denied his appeals and he was put to death by lethal injection for abducting Mary Bounds outside her church in 1987 and beating her to death.
"Justice has finally been rendered for this horrible crime," said Gov. Haley Barbour.
"I was in the execution chamber and observed execution protocol and found that Earl Berry died a death much more peaceful than Mrs. Mary," said Attorney General Jim Hood, who knew the victim.
Hood also said he expects more death row inmates to be put to death in coming months.
"Recent and upcoming changes in state and federal rules regarding inmate appeals are already expediting death penalty cases in Mississippi," Hood said. "Of the six death row inmates executed since 1989, three have come in just the past four years."
According to Hood's office, 65 inmates currently await execution:
- six, including Berry, have been executed in the past 19 years;
- one inmate has been awaiting execution for 31 years;
- the approximate cost in 2007 to house an inmate was just over $22,500 a year.
Berry is the second inmate executed in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure in April.