BONNE TERRE, Mo. -- A Missouri man was put to death Wednesday for raping and killing a college student in 1995, making him the first U.S. prisoner executed since a lethal injection in Arizona last month in which an inmate took nearly two hours to die. The Missouri Department of Corrections said Michael Worthington was executed by lethal injection and was pronounced dead at 12:11 a.m., 10 minutes after the process began.
Worthington had been sentenced to death for the attack on 24-year-old Melinda "Mindy" Griffin during a burglary. Before the execution began, while strapped to a gurney and covered with a sheet, Worthington spoke with his witnesses through the glass, raising his shaved head. When the drugs began flowing, his head lowered back to the pillow and he appeared to breathe heavily for about 15 seconds before closing his eyes for good. A Bible had been placed on his chest at his request. The U.S. Supreme Court and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon had declined on Tuesday to block the execution. Griffin's mother watched Worthington die. "I feel I'm glad he's dead," Carol Angelbeck, 76, told reporters.
- The Associated Press