RILEY WON'T STOP EXECUTION
AND WARDEN IS FINE WITH THAT
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Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2003 7:35 PM
Subject: Riley won't stop execution
Riley won't stop execution
By Phillip Rawls
The Associated Press
ATMORE -- Gov. Bob Riley said he won't stop the execution of Michael Eugene Thompson on Thursday because he considers it appropriate punishment for a slaying that occurred more than 18 years ago.
The new governor knows exactly what is supposed to happen at 6 p.m. Thursday because he toured Alabama's lethal injection chamber Friday and saw a simulation of an execution by prison employees.
"It's a pretty good procedure. It's clean," Holman Prison Warden Grantt Culliver told the governor.
Thompson, convicted of the robbery, kidnapping and murder of a convenience store clerk in Attalla, is the second person scheduled to die by lethal injection in Alabama. His is the first execution scheduled since Riley became governor Jan. 20.
Some of Thompson's supporters are supposed to meet with Riley's legal adviser Tuesday to make a plea for the inmate's life, but Riley said the horrific nature of the killing warrants the death penalty.
"I have read about the case. I understand what happened. I don't have a problem with it. There is a certain level of evil that you have to punish," he said.
The governor visited Holman because he said he likes to see things for himself, rather than talking about them in an abstract, philosophical manner. Veteran prison employees, who conducted the simulation for Riley, said he was the first governor they could recall visiting death row.
Thompson's case goes back to Dec. 10, 1984, when Maisie Carlene Gray was working alone at a convenience store in Attalla. The store was robbed and she was forced into the trunk of Thompson's car.
Thompson was convicted of carrying her to Blount County, forcing her into a well and then shooting into the well until he ran out of ammunition. Then he drove to pick up his girlfriend, obtained more bullets, and returned to the well to fire seven or eight more shots to make sure Gray was dead, according to court records.
Thompson's attorneys are making last-minute appeals that they hope will cause a judge to reopen the case and halt the execution.
At Holman's death chamber Friday afternoon, Riley stood at the foot of the gurney where the inmate is strapped.
"Will there be anyone in the room with him when it happens?" Riley asked.
"The chaplain," the warden said.
"Good," Riley replied.
Riley visited the adjoining room, where the warden will oversee large syringes that send drugs flowing through a tube that travels through a hole in the wall and into the inmate's arm. The drugs will put the inmate to sleep and then stop his heart.
"You all right with it?" Riley asked the warden.
"Yes sir," Culliver replied.
"Sure?" Riley asked.
"Yes sir," Culliver said.
Here is the Governor's contact information:
Governor Bob Riley
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104