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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Witness for the execution
supports
Jesse Jackson, Bianca Jagger and Al Sharpton were there for the execution
Mike Graczyk from Associated Press and Lloyd Gite, a local Texas TV reporter were among the invited crowd in Gary Graham's death chamber.

Both journalists, obviously moved by what they saw, came out to give an account of the convicted killers last moments.

"We had a long, rambling and angry statement from Mr Graham- it was obvious from the way he looked he had put up a struggle," said Mike Graczyk.
jackson
Jesse Jackson was asked to fight on in Graham's name

"He was restrained with black velcro restraints on his wrists, he had a very rumpled white prison shirt on."

"He was covered for the most part with a sheet which is fairly unusual for executions that we see in Texas."

"He had a restraint across the top of his head that was designed to keep his head from moving, during the course of his statement it slipped off."

Struggle

TV reporter Lloyd Gite told how he saw evidence of a struggle: "He was handcuffed - it is not normal for prisoners to have handcuffs on him.

"I did see some bruises on his upper arm."

Mike Graczyk said that from the outset Graham was keen to stress he had not carried out the murder he was being executed for.

"He said when he first started talking to us that he was innocent of the killing of Bobby Lambert."

"And that now he Gary Graham is being murdered for that."

Supporters thanked

Referring to Jesse Jackson, Bianca Jagger and Al Sharpton, he said the officials knew the truth and that the truth at some point would come out but he did not kill Bobby Lambert.

Lloyd Gite said Graham talked about his execution as a crime against black people.

"He was repeatedly talking about marching on black power."

"He talked about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Junior."

Lynching

"He said they stood up and died for what was just. There will be 100 more years of this lynching if we do not do something and do something fast. "

"He thanked his supporters, he expressed his love for Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Bianca Jagger who were in the death chamber."

Mike Graczyk said he called for an investigation into his treatment and there were tapes of him being abused in prison by prison officials.

Bianca Jagger started crying as Graham said his execution was nothing more than murder, state sanctioned murder.

Mike Graczyk described how he looked as his end finally came: "As the drugs were going through his body he looked at us and he sort of went silent."

"He died with one of his eyes open and one of them closed."

"He was looking at Jesse Jackson when he died."

"He left out a sort of groan a bit like an exhale."

"And then the doctor came in and pronounced him dead - we got up and left the room."

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Death row
Should capital punishment be abolished?
See also:

23 Jun 00 | Americas
Death row man executed
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'
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