A man convicted of the 1994 execution-style shooting of a store clerk in Alabama was put to death yesterday by lethal injection in the third US execution this week.
Derrick O'Neal Mason (37), was pronounced dead at 6.49pm local time at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Department of Corrections spokesman Grantt Culliver said. Mason spent 16 years on death row.
The execution followed two high-profile lethal injections this week in Georgia and Texas. In a case that drew international attention, Troy Davis was put to death in Georgia on Wednesday for the murder of a police officer despite claims by his advocates he may have been innocent.
Also on Wednesday, Texas executed a white supremacist convicted of helping to kill a black man by dragging him behind a truck, a case that sparked a wave of hate crime laws.
Mason was the fifth inmate executed in Alabama this year, and the 36th in the United States in 2011. He did not request a last meal and told prison staff he was fasting, Mr Culliver said.
Mason was convicted of killing 25-year-old Angela Cagle during the attempted robbery of a convenience store in Huntsville, Alabama. Authorities said he forced Cagle to strip naked and shot her twice in the face at close range.
Mason apologised to the victim's family and thanked his own relatives before the lethal drugs were administered. Four of Ms Cagle's family members witnessed the execution.
Alabama governor Robert Bentley said on Wednesday he would not intervene to halt the execution. Earlier this month, the judge who sentenced Mason to death asked Bentley to spare the inmate's life.
In a September 8th letter, Judge Loyd Little Jr. did not dispute that Mason "terrorised the victim". But he wrote that if he had tried the case as a more experienced jurist, he would have sentenced Mason to life without the possibility of parole.
Neither he nor the defence team had any experience in capital murder cases before the Mason trial, the judge said.