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Mississippi Executes Paul Everette Woodward, 305 Pound Killer, for '86 Rape-Slay of Rhonda Crane

Paul Everette Woodward (Mississippi Dept. of Corrections)
PARCHMAN, Miss. (CBS/AP) Paul Everette Woodward said a prayer before being put to death by lethal injection Wednesday for the 1986 rape and murder of 24-year-old Rhonda Crane.

"I would like to say the Lord's Prayer," Woodward said, inviting others in the execution room to join in.

After the prayer, the 62-year-old, who weighed 305 pounds,  took a couple of heavy breaths, turned his head to the left and closed his eyes. He was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m. by Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton at the state penitentiary in Parchman.

Woodward was convicted of capital murder in 1987 for raping and killing Crane, a Jackson County Youth Court volunteer.

Crane was driving in July 1986 to join her parents for a family camping trip when Woodward used his log truck to force her to stop on Mississippi Highway 29 south of New Augusta, prosecutors said. Woodward, who was 38 at the time, kidnapped and raped Crane, then shot her to death.

Woodward did not fight his execution beyond an appeal to Gov. Haley Barbour for clemency, which the governor denied Wednesday.

Renee Lander, the victim's sister, told reporters at a post-execution news conference that the family wasn't sure this day would come.

"We waited a long time to see him put to death. I am very glad to see him take his last breath," Lander said. "I wish it had been brutal like Rhonda's death."

  • Edecio Martinez

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