The US executed a man for raping and killing a 16-year old girl over two decades ago.
Officials in Mississippi announced that Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. was declared dead at 6.12pm on Wednesday. This is the second execution in Mississippi in 10 years.
After pleading guilty to murder, sexual battery and four counts against Leesa Marie Grey, Loden was sentenced to death.
Loden forced her to his van after she was left stranded by a flat tire in June 2000.
According to an interview he gave investigators, the Marine Corps recruiter had spent four hours sexually assaulting her. He then strangled and suffocated her.
Court records reveal that Loden was found lying on the roadside with “I’m Sorry” written in his chest and cut to his wrists.
He was among five Mississippi death row inmates who sued Mississippi for its lethal injection protocol.
Even though the lawsuit was still pending, a federal judge refused to block execution.
Officials stated that Loden was “remorseful for the family” before his death.
Ms. Gray was a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant in northeast Mississippi during the summer that she should have been finishing her senior year in high school.
On 22 June 2000, she left work at night and was left stranded on a rural road with a flat tire.
Loden met Gray on the street around 10.45pm. He began to speak with Gray about the flat tire and said: “Don’t worry. I’m a Marine. This is what we do.”
Loden said that he was angry at Gray’s claim that she wouldn’t want to be a Marine and ordered her into his van.
Loden pleaded guilty to Gray’s charges in September 2001 and told Gray’s family and friends during his sentencing: “I hope you can have some sense of justice as you leave here today.”
Wanda Farris, Ms. Gray’s mother, described her daughter as a happy-go-lucky, always smiling teenager who wanted to be an elementary school teacher.