Benny Joe Stevens execution withstands court scrutiny. Photo via Jason Morrison.
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (BNO NEWS) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a stay of execution for Mississippi death row inmate Benny Joe Stevens, who has been convicted in the slaying of four people, including two children.
Stevens, 52, was found guilty of four counts of capital murder in the October 1998 shooting deaths of his ex-wife Glenda Reid, her new husband Wesley Reid, Glenda’s 11-year-old son Dylan Lee and and a neighbor’s son Heath Pounds, who was 12. It happened at a mobile home in Marion County.
Stevens’ 16-year-old daughter, Erica, was also shot but managed to escape to a neighbor’s home despite being shot in the back. Stevens has attempted to overturn his conviction and subsequent death sentence ever since he was convicted in December 1999.
Numerous appeals have previously been rejected, and a last-minute effort to block Tuesday’s execution was rejected by the U.S Supreme Court. “The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Scalia and by him referred to the Court is denied. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied,” a statement said.
The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court means Stevens’ execution at the State Penitentiary at Parchman can go ahead as scheduled at 6 p.m. local time. “The United States Supreme Court has just denied the stay for Benny Joe Stevens and, therefore, the execution will go forward,” Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said. “Our prayers are with the victim’s family and the defendant’s family.”
Stevens received a number of visits on Tuesday, including from his father, mother, brother, sister-in-law, and a chaplain. Correctional officers posted outside his cell described Stevens as having an ‘upbeat attitude’ and being ‘very talkative’.
For his last meal, Stevens requested four whole fried catfish, eight hushpuppies, French fries, coleslaw, hickory smoked barbeque beef ribs, hot peach cobbler, Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream, cokes, ketchup, whole red tomato, and salt and pepper.
The execution, which will be by lethal injection, will be witnessed by Stevens’ father and brother as well as eight members of the victims’ families. Three spiritual advisors, eight members of the media, two Sheriffs, and Stevens’ two attorneys, will also witness the execution.
After his death, Stevens’ body will be released to Hathorn Funeral Home in Columbia, Mississippi.
Copyright 2011 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved.
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