updated 11/29/2005 2:42:12 AM ET 2005-11-29T07:42:12

A man was executed Monday for killing a teenager by slashing her throat with a box cutter.

Eric Nance, 45, offered no last words when offered a final statement. Except for a slight quivering lip, he lay still on the gurney while receiving the lethal injection.

Nance was convicted in the slaying of Julie Heath, 18, whose body was discovered by a hunter in October 1993.

After Heath vanished, Nance told people he feared someone would fabricate a story about him being involved in the woman’s disappearance. He was arrested two days after her body was found.

Heath’s relatives watched the execution on closed-circuit television in a prison office. Heath’s mother, Nancy, killed herself a year after her daughter’s murder.

“This is not easy for any of us, and we do feel for his mother, his family,” said Johnie Hood, a cousin of the victim. “I just pray that Julie rests in peace now. He couldn’t say he was sorry.”

Nance’s execution was delayed for more than an hour while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed last-minute claims he was mentally retarded and that additional DNA testing on a hair found in his truck could clear his name.

The execution was the 998th since the United States widely resumed executions in 1977. An Ohio man, John Hicks, faced execution Tuesday. Robin Lovitt, likely to be the 1,000th execution, was set to die Wednesday in Virginia for fatally stabbing a pool hall manager with a pair of scissors.

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