Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Killer denied clemency in 1998 murder of ex-wife, three others over "child support"; daughter who was shot during attack to witness execution (Parchman, Mississippi)

Say goodbye to dad BENNY JOE STEVENS, who just didn't want to pay child support.


Barbour denies stay of execution2:33 PM, May. 10, 2011 |
Written by Elizabeth Crisp

PARCHMAN — Gov. Haley Barbour has declined a petition for clemency for condemned killer Benny Joe Stevens, who is scheduled to be executed this evening.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said he delivered the denial to Stevens this morning.

"You could tell he was surprised to see that," Epps said.

Barring a last-minute reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court Stevens, 52, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection shortly after 6 p.m. at the State Penitentiary at Parchman for killing four people, including two children, in Marion County in 1998.

Epps said officers have observed Stevens to be upbeat and talkative today.

Stevens, 52, was convicted in 1999 of killing his ex-wife, Glenda Reid; her husband, Wesley Lee Reid; her 11-year-old son, Dylan Lee; and Lee's 10-year-old friend Heath Pounds in a dispute over child support.

He has talked about the crime, telling officials that he was in a traffic accident earlier in the evening and he believes it contributed to the murders.

“He didn’t remember doing it,” Epps said. “He was just out of his mind.”

Epps said he has not shown remorse or apologized for the crime.

“He basically just says that now, after he’s had time to think about it, he does admit that he’s guilty of those crimes,” he said.

Those scheduled to witness his execution include his father, Ben Stevens, and brother, Ricky Stevens.

Eight relatives of his victims also will witness the execution, including Stevens’ daughter, Erica who he shot during the attack. Benny Joe Stevens has said he did not mean to shoot Erica Stevens, but she was a key witness for the prosecution in his trial.

Epps said Stevens appeared to be surprised when he heard his daughter would be witnessing the execution.

“He didn’t take that well,” he said.

For his last meal, Stevens has requested four whole fried catfish, eight hushpuppies, French fries, coleslaw, hickory smoked barbeque beef ribs (wet with sauce also on the side), hot peach cobbler, a half gallon of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream, two 20-ounce Cokes and a sliced, whole red tomato.