A man convicted of killing two sisters who authorities said were pushed from an abandoned Mississippi River bridge was executed early Wednesday.
In a final statement made to prison officials, Marlin Gray again denied involvement in the 1991 deaths.
“I go with the peace of mind that comes from never having taken a human life,” Gray said. “I forgive those who have hardened their heart to the truth. I pray they ask forgiveness, for they know not what they do. This is not a death. It is a lynching.”
Gray, 38, was pronounced dead at 12:07 a.m. He was convicted in 1992 of two counts of first-degree murder as an accomplice in the deaths of Julie and Robin Kerry.
Gray’s lawyers had argued the state didn’t present sufficient evidence to convict him of first-degree murder, failing to show he participated in the crimes, or planned and directed them.
The U.S. Supreme Court and Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt turned back appeals for Gray within minutes of each other late Tuesday.
“I support the sentence issued and affirmed by both Missouri and U.S. Courts and believe justice has been served,” Blunt said in a statement.
Gray maintained St. Louis police had coerced his confession with beatings and threats, and refused requests for a lawyer. Nels Moss, who prosecuted the case, called Gray a “sociopath” who was unable to accept responsibility.
Another man, Daniel Winfrey, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement in exchange for testifying against Gray and two others. Winfrey was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Reginald Clemons was convicted and is awaiting execution. Antonio Richardson’s execution was stayed in 2002 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he was re-sentenced to life in prison.