Brandon Joseph Rhode Executed

9:43 AM, Sep 28, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Group Protests At Rhode Execution

Video: Protestors Speak Out Against Death Penalty at Rhode Execution

Video: Brandon Joseph Rhode Executed

  • The Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a nonprofit group, protested at the state prison in Jackson Monday evening.

Brandon Joseph Rhode was executed by the state of Georgia for a 1998 Jones County triple murder.

Dept. of Corrections Spokeswoman Peggy Chapman says Rhode was pronounced dead Monday, Sept. 27 at 10:16 p.m. 

The execution scheduled for 7 p.m. got delayed more than three hours, amid appeals by Rhodes' attorney's.  They argued he wasn't mentally competent after he tried to commit suicide last week. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Rhode around 8 p.m.  Associated Press Reporter Greg Bluestein witnessed the execution.  He said it took about 15 minutes to properly strap Rhode in the gurney.  Plus, another 30 minutes to find two veins used to enter the lethal injection drugs.  Bluestein said that's not uncommon and said he's seen previous executions take more than an hour to find a vein.

"(They) ended up finding a vein between his finger and thumb and another vein used in a port in his neck, created during his attempted suicide," said Bluestein. 

Chapman said at 9:14 p.m. the execution process began.  The process begins when the warden reads the order of execution.  Bluestein said about 25 to 30 people watched the execution. 

"What struck me, when everyone walked into the room, right when apparent, that he only had a few minutes left on this earth, his eyes darted from wall to wall," said Bluestein.  "He really seemed like he was trying to take it all in because he knew that this was about it for him."

For the most part, Bluestein said Rhode held a blank stare, was quiet and unemotional.

Chapman said Rhode chose not to give a last statement and declined a last prayer offered by a clergyman.

"He (Rhode) emphatically said no," said Bluestein.

He said the lethal injection drugs took 14 minutes to take effect. 

"For a little while, his eyes sort of fidgeted around, moved his head around the room to kind of take it in, after a few minutes he stopped moving, stared blankly into space," said Bluestein.  "A few minutes later medics came in... pronounced him dead.. he died with his eyes open."

Three people protested against Rhodes' execution and the death penalty at the prison's site Monday.  The group is part of the non-profit organization "Georgia For Alternatives To The Death Penalty."  Board member Mary Catherine Johnson says she's protested for death row inmates before, but calls Rhode's execution different, due to his suicide attempt.

"It was the way that it was handled, that he wasn't given proper medical care," said Johnson.

She said the state doesn't have the right to take Rhode's life or anyone else's life. 

A state board late Monday afternoon issued two more rulings against convicted triple murder Brandon Joseph Rhode.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied his attorney's request for a stay of execution and a second application for clemency, according to a news release.

That came a few hours after the state's Supreme Court denied a third stay of execution for Rhode.

The state's highest court also rejected two separate request by Rhode's lawyer to appeal the case again.

As authorities tried for the third time in a week to execute Rhode, his lawyer argued that he is "no longer competent to be executed."

Brandon Joseph Rhode's attorney said "the threat of execution has pushed Mr. Rhode's limited coping skills to the breaking point" in a court filing Monday to the Georgia Supreme Court.

The 31-year-old was convicted in 2000 of killing a father and two children during a burglary in their Jones County home.

Rhode slashed his throat and arms hours before his Tuesday execution date, requiring hospitalization. The execution was then pushed back to Friday morning, then Friday night, amid ongoing appeals, but the state court postponed it again until Monday night.

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