Virginia Performs First Execution Since 2006

Lawrence Vaughan didn't get to see his wife's funeral. But after nearly 10 years, he was able to see her killer take his last breaths.

Vaughan and his family watched Tuesday as Kevin Green, 31, was executed by lethal injection for killing Patricia Vaughan in August of 1998 when he robbed the store she and her husband owned in rural Brunswick County. Green was pronounced dead at 10:05 p.m. at Greensville Correctional Center.

It was Virginia's first execution in nearly two years and the third in the U.S. since the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of lethal injections in April. Georgia became the first to execute an inmate May 6, ending a seven-month halt on capital punishment nationwide.

The U.S. Supreme Court, a federal judge and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine each refused Tuesday to halt the execution.

Green's execution was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. but was delayed for about an hour when his attorneys attempted to get the federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order. They contended that a case argued last week challenging the constitutionality of Virginia's lethal injection procedure should be decided before Green was put to death.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer denied the request, made at 8 p.m., 40 minutes after the execution had been scheduled to start.

Green declined to give a final statement, telling a prison official, "No, I don't got nothing to say."

Marcia Brown said watching her mother's killer die was bittersweet.

"My mom went in such a tragic way and he just laid on the table and that was it," said Brown, who witnessed the execution with her sister, father, husband, stepmother and two local officials. "It was just going to sleep. That really haunts me."

Green shot Patricia and Lawrence Vaughan and stole $9,000 from their convenience store in rural Dolphin, more than 50 miles south of Richmond. Patricia Vaughan, 53, was shot four times and died at the scene. Lawrence Vaughan was shot twice but survived. He was in a Richmond hospital when they buried his wife.

Police say Green confessed, telling them he and his nephew took a bus to northern Virginia and blew all but $170 of the $9,000 they stole on prostitutes, marijuana and clothes.

His nephew, 16 at the time, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Kevin Green went to trial and was found guilty of robbery and capital murder and sentenced to death in 2000. A year later, the Virginia Supreme Court ordered a new trial because of juror problems. Green was convicted again in 2001 and again sentenced to death.

Green's attorneys had based the request for a U.S. Supreme Court review on their contention that an appeals court erred when it ruled in February that Green had passed the statute of limitations for claiming ineffective trial counsel. Their request for clemency from Kaine was based on the claim that Green was mentally disabled.

Green, through his attorneys, declined to be interviewed.

Green requested that prison officials not release the contents of his last meal, Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said. Traylor said Green did not meet with family or a spiritual adviser Tuesday but did speak to at least one of his attorneys.

Green was the 99th person executed in Virginia since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Virginia ranks second only to Texas, which has executed 405.