Ledell Lee, who was convicted in the murder of Debra Reese in 1993 in a Little Rock Suburb, was executed by the Arkansas Supreme Court Thursday night, authorities said. His death was the first execution carried out by Arkansas since 2005.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following his execution in which she condemned the murder and prayed for the Reese family. “I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family,” Rutledge said.
Lee died of lethal injection. He received three injections consisting of three drugs: potassium chloride to stop his heart, midazolam to render him unconscious and vecuronium bromide to stop him from breathing.
He was given the lethal injection at 11:44 p.m. local time (12:44 a.m. EDT) and was pronounced dead 12 minutes later by the officials at the Arkansas Department of Correction.
A spokesman for the department Solomon Graves said that Lee requested “Holy Communion” as his last meal and did not make any final statement before his execution was conducted. According to the Apostolic Church: “Holy Communion is a meal of remembrance because it first of all commemorates the death of Jesus Christ as a unique event which is valid for all times. The remembrance of this event is important because it emphasizes that Jesus Christ is true Man who had to suffer real death. It also recalls the situation at the institution of Holy Communion in the circle of the Apostles. This highlights the importance of the Apostles for the proper administration of Holy Communion.”
Apart from Lee’s execution, the Arkansas state also planned to execute eight death row inmates over a period of 10 days starting April 17, however four among them received stay orders for various reasons, according to New York Times.
Lee was convicted in 1995, after he murdered Debra Reese in February 1993 at her home in Jacksonville, Arkansas. 27-year-old Lee was accused of robbing and strangling Reese inside her house and then beating her with a tire thumper that Reese’s husband gave her for protection. She had a six year old son named Joseph Lucky.
Lee denied the accusations and maintained his innocence for 21 years while serving on death row in Arkansas. His court documents also revealed that Reese was not his only victim but there had been other crimes he had committed against women all in the Jacksonville area.
Reese’s son Lucky said during Lee’s trial: “My mother was everything to me. When she was ripped from my life, it started a spiral that I almost didn’t recover from. My family has lived in the shadow of this event our entire lives.”
“He is the embodiment of the evil that should never have to exist in this world,” Lucky added.
Prior to the announcement of the execution, Lucky requested the state to put an end to the pain their family has been through for twenty-four years since Reese’s murder, Arkansasmatters.com reported.
“Let us have some closure,” he said. “Let this end. Let us step out from this shadow.”