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Jimmy Gray Mississippi Execution

Jimmy Gray - Mississippi

Jimmy Gray was executed by the State of Mississippi for the kidnapping and murder of a three year old girl. According to court documents Jimmy Gray who was on parole after serving seven years for murder would kidnap, sexually assault and murder a three year old girl. Jimmy Gray would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. Jimmy Gray would be executed by the way of the gas chamber on September 2, 1983. The execution was considered to be botched as Jimmy Gray took a long time to die as Gray would bash his head off a steel pole until he lost consciousness.

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Jimmy Lee Gray died gasping and choking in the cyanide-filled gas chamber at Parchman prison early Friday for the murder of a 3-year-old girl who came to his apartment to play with his kittens.

State Corrections Commissioner Morris Thigpen said doctors reported that Jimmy Gray was dead two minutes after the first smoky wisps of cyanide gas seeped into the gray steel chamber at 12:10 a.m. CDT.

He said the agonized gasps and convulsions that still wracked his body eight minutes later were ‘involuntary type movements that occur in any person who has died. In the doctors’ opinion, it was a prompt and easy death.’

Observers were ordered out of the witness room at 12:18 — eight minutes after executioner T. Berry Bruce released the cyanide pellets — and Jimmy Gray, wracked by convulsions, appeared to still be breathing.

He was not finally pronounced dead until 12:47 a.m., although Thigpen at first announced that doctors — monitoring Gray’s heartbeat via a remote stethoscope — reported the condemned man’s heart stopped at 12:18.

Jimmy Gray, 34, was the eighth man executed in the United States since the Supreme Court lifted the death penalty ban in 1977, and the first to be executed in Mississippi since 1964

He appeared to die as hard as John Louis Evans, whose death required three massive jolts of current in Alabama’s electric chair in April.

Thigpen would not reveal the names of the two doctors who witnessed the execution from a private room, but he said that ‘Within 30 seconds after the fumes began to come up from beneath the chair, Mr. Gray appeared to lose conciousness.

‘At two minutes, the doctors stated there was no heartbeat at all. Over the next five to six minutes, there was irregular breathing and involuntary type movements and reflex actions that commonly occur in any person who has died. In the doctors’ opinion, it was a prompt and easy death,’ Thigpen told reporters.

At 12:01 a.m. CDT, with protestors lighting candles and praying at the prison gates on a hot, muggy night, Warden Eddie Lucas murmured over his hand held radio ‘Let’s go.’

Eight minutes later, Gray was brought into the 4-by-4-foot gray steel gas chamber in the red jump suit of the death row prisoner. He was accompanied by two guards and the huge sheriff of Jackson County, where he was convicted of the murder of 3-year-old Deressa Jean Scales in 1976.

It took two minutes for the guards to strap him into the seat. He kept his head bowed and his eyes closed, whispering occasionally. At 12:10 a.m., the door to the chamber sealed, and Sheriff John Ledbetter signalled Bruce — a school custodian who has been Mississippi’s executioner since the chamber was built in 1955 — to proceed. He threw the lever that dropped a small container of white cyanide crystals into an acid solution under Gray’s seat. A white wisp of gas writhed up between Gray’s legs and he visibly sucked in his breath, breathing deeply. Within a minute his head fell forward and he appeared to be unconscious

But then his head jerked back, he began to choke and strain at the straps holding him to the seat by his arms, legs and chest. His fists :lenched. His face contorted, and prolonged, agonized groans and shuddering gasps could be heard in the witness room.

Three times his head dropped and he appeared dead, but each time it snapped up, striking with an audible clang a steel pole running from floor to ceiling behind his seat. After eight minutes of this, assistant Warden Joe Cook entered the steaming, mosquito-filled witness room and said ‘Gentlemen of the press, let’s go.’ ‘ The chamber was still filled with gas — and mosquitos — and Gray’s head was strained back against the pole, his head turned to the side, his eyes open and rolled back in his head, his mouth open, and his head was moving slightly.

In Dallas, Texas, Richard A. Scales, the father of Gray’s victim, said ‘I’d glad he’s dead. I hate to put it that way. I am glad the he was finally executed, but glad is a bad word. I feel like justice should have been carried out years ago.’

Gray’s seven-year fight for life ended Thursday, when the Supreme Court for the third time turned down his appeals.

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