updated 1/20/2006 3:13:07 AM ET 2006-01-20T08:13:07

An inmate convicted of the 1984 murder of a retired minister, a day after the Baptist preacher gave him food and money, was executed early Friday by lethal injection.

Perrie Dyon Simpson, 43, was pronounced dead at Central Prison at 2:17 a.m. EST, said Keith Acree, a spokesman for the state Department of Correction.

Simpson was convicted in the death of retired preacher Jean E. Darter, 92, of Reidsville. A day before the murder, Darter gave food and $4 in cash to Simpson and his girlfriend and allowed Simpson to use his telephone.

“I want to say I am sorry for what I did,” Simpson said in a last statement. “I’m sorry for the victim and the families. I’m sorry for my family. I’m sorry for everybody.”

The execution came after Gov. Mike Easley rejected Simpson’s clemency request Thursday evening and after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal. The state Supreme Court also rejected Simpson’s appeal.

The clemency petition had asked Easley to commute the death sentence to life in prison. But Easley, who has granted clemency only twice in his two terms as governor, said Simpson did not deserve clemency.

“I find no convincing reason to overturn the verdicts of the juries, affirmed by the state and federal courts,” Easley said in a statement.

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