BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"The execution of Gary Graham may haunt this state"
 real 28k

Larry Fitzgerald
announces the Parole Board's decision
 real 28k

Civil rights lawyer, Alan Dershowitz
"It's more likely that he's innocent than that he's guilty"
 real 28k

Friday, 23 June, 2000, 03:25 GMT 04:25 UK
Death row man executed
75 protestors were outside the jail
Several protesters have been arrested trying to break police lines
Convicted murderer Gary Graham has been put to death by lethal injection after last minute moves by his lawyers failed.

Journalist eyewitnesses said he fought against his fate to the very end and that he had to be subdued and carried into the execution room.

They said it was obvious from the way he looked he had put up a struggle.

He was covered in a sheet and restrained as he was laid down to die.

You can kill a revolutionary but not the revolution

Executed prisoner, Gary Graham

In a long, rambling and angry statement he said he wanted everyone to know that his death was state sanctioned murder.

And he said that his killing was part of the genocide of blacks in America.

Graham had to be restrained as he was injected

He added, unless something was done, there would be another 100 years of this kind of lynching.

His murder, he said, had to be avenged.

He went on to say that he had been treated brutally in prison but maintained that "you can kill a revolutionary but not the revolution".

Witnesses Bianca Jagger, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were said to be very emotional as the time for the execution came near.

Journalists said as the drugs went into his body he looked over at Reverend Jackson, then let out a slight groan and died.

Afterwards Jesse Jackson said he had wept openly at witnessing his first execution.

The family of Graham's victim Bobby Lambert also made a short statement saying that although they were sad for his family they felt that justice had been done.

Last minutes

The execution at Huntsville in Texas was put back for three hours while lawyers appealed to the US supreme court for clemency - that was denied.

Graham has been on death row for 19 years
Graham has already failed in at least 33 appeals

Then his lawyers launched a civil suit against the pardons and parole board for refusing a reprieve.

This was also refused and the Texas governor and Presidential candidate, George W Bush, reaffirmed that the decision to go ahead was the right one.

Mr Bush pointed out that Graham's case had been reviewed by 33 state and federal judges.

"After considering all of the facts I am convinced justice is being done."

"May God bless the victim, the family of the victim, and may God bless Mr Graham."


Outside the jail several protesters were arrested trying to break a police barricade.

And officers in riot gear struggled to remove 25 members of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan from the area.

Graham sent his love to his daughter Deidra and his sons

Earlier, the Texas pardons and parole board took the majority decision to put Graham to death.

The board voted 14-3 against the 120-day reprieve, 12-5 against commutation to a lesser sentence, and 17-0 against a conditional pardon.

Graham was sentenced to death for shooting a man dead in Houston 19 years ago - he has been on death row since then.

The Bush factor

US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson had called on George W Bush to delay the execution because of doubts over the conviction.

Verdict doubts
Only one of six witnesses has identified Graham as the killer
Gun found on Graham could not have fired the fatal bullet
Four witnesses say Graham was elsewhere when the crime took place

But Mr Bush has defended the use of capital punishment in Texas - where there have been 131 executions since he took office more than five years ago - "because I believe it saves lives".

Graham has pleaded guilty to 10 aggravated robberies during a crime spree 19 years ago.

But he insists his weeklong rampage of robbery, rape and theft did not include the fatal shooting of an Arizona man outside a Houston supermarket.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

Death row
Should capital punishment be abolished?
See also:

22 Jun 00 | Americas
In pictures: Passions run high
22 Jun 00 | Americas
Death row man talks to BBC
12 Jun 00 | Americas
Most US death sentences 'flawed'
22 May 00 | Americas
Serial killer gets death penalty
03 May 00 | Americas
Woman executed in Arkansas
23 Jun 00 | Americas
Witness for the execution
Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories