1000th execution is white while black spared
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Inmate set to become 1,000th U.S. inmate executed since 1976 meets with family
14:32:04 EST Dec 1, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - An inmate set to become the 1,000th person executed in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated almost 30 years ago was visiting with relatives Thursday, including the two sons who were with him when he gunned down their mother and her father in a rage.
Kenneth Boyd was seeing all three of his now-grown sons face-to-face for the first time since he was sent to death row in 1994.
If Boyd, 57, is executed as scheduled by lethal injection at 2 a.m. EST on Friday, two relatives of his victims will watch him die through the thick glass panes separating the viewing room from the stark execution chamber at Central Prison.
Members of Boyd's family also may witness the execution. A prison spokeswoman said the family hasn't decided who, if anyone, will watch.
Boyd, who doesn't deny he committed the murders in rural Rockingham County near the Virginia line, would become the 1,000th person to be executed since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment. He told The Associated Press in a prison interview that he wants no part of that infamous distinction.
"I'd hate to be remembered as that," Boyd said Wednesday. "I don't like the idea of being picked as a number."
Boyd's lawyers have filed appeals with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well a clemency application with Gov. Mike Easley. A spokeswoman for Easley said the governor will treat Boyd's case like others he has considered.
Larger-than-normal crowds of protesters were expected in Raleigh on Thursday, and vigils were planned across the state.
But Boyd's hopes for a last-minute reprieve appeared slim. There is no doubt about his guilt and his case does not include the kind of legal concerns that led Virginia Gov. Mark Warner to spare the life Tuesday of Robin Lovitt, who had been set to be the 1,000th person executed.
The murder weapon in Lovitt's case - a pair of scissors used to stab a man to death - had been improperly destroyed, preventing the defence from subjecting the scissors to the latest in DNA testing.
In Easley's nearly five years as North Carolina governor, 22 inmates have been executed. He has granted clemency twice: One case suffered from lost evidence; in the other, the defence claimed jurors were racially biased against a black man convicted of killing the husband of a white woman with whom he had been having an affair.
In his clemency petition, Boyd's lawyers argued his experiences in Vietnam - where as a bulldozer operator he was shot at by snipers daily - contributed to his crimes.
Boyd called the death penalty "nothing but revenge."
"I feel like I should be in prison for the rest of my life," he said. "I never expect to get paroled out if I got off."
© The Canadian Press, 2005