CHICAGO – The US government on Tuesday executed a former soldier who said an obsession with witchcraft led him to kill a Georgia nurse he believed had put a spell on him.
William Emmett LeCroy, 50, was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m. EDT after receiving a lethal injection in the same U.S. prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where five more were executed in 2020 after 17 years without a federal execution .
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Attorneys petitioned Trump to commute LeCroy’s sentence to life imprisonment. They said LeCroy’s brother, Georgia State Trooper Chad LeCroy, was killed in a routine traffic obstruction in 201
Another execution of Christopher Vialva is scheduled for Thursday. He would be the first African American on federal death row to be killed in a series of federal executions this year.
Critics say President Donald Trump’s resumption of federal executions this year is a cynical offer to help him claim the law and order candidate’s cloak before election day. Supporters say Trump is bringing long overdue justice to victims and their families.
LeCroy broke into 30-year-old Joann Lee Tiesler’s Cherrylog, Georgia mountain home on October 7, 2001, waiting for her to return from a shopping spree. As she walked through the door, LeCroy hit her with a shotgun, tied her up, and raped her. Then he cut her throat and stabbed her repeatedly in the back.
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LeCroy had known Tiesler because she lived near a relative’s house and often waved to her when he drove by. He later told investigators he believed she might have been his old babysitter, whom he called Tinkerbell, and who sexually molested LeCroy as a child. After killing Tiesler, he realized that this couldn’t possibly be true.
Two days after Tiesler’s death, LeCroy was arrested with Tiesler’s truck after passing a US checkpoint in Minnesota heading for Canada.
Authorities found a note LeCroy wrote prior to his arrest asking Tiesler for forgiveness, according to court records. “You were an angel and I killed you,” it read. “I’m a vagabond and doomed to hell.”
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As she waited near the prison to enter and witness the proposed execution, LeCroy’s spiritual advisor, Sister Barbara Battista, held a bag of toffee chocolate that she said was LeCroy’s favorite. She was supposed to speak to him before the execution and then stand nearby when the lethal injections began. She last spoke to LeCroy seven days ago, quoting him as saying he had pondered his likely death and adding that he was resigned.
“He said,” You know, if we weren’t and then we are and then we are not, “she said.” He was thoughtful. He didn’t seem excited. “She said he wasn’t sure he would have the last words and told her that he didn’t like” the way the process is all fuss “.
LeCroy, who joined the army at 17 but was discharged for AWOL, later spoke of an interest in witchcraft that began during a previous jail stint on burglary, child molestation, and other charges.
LeCroy said he pondered for days before killing what Tiesler Tinkerbell was like and that attacking her would undo a hex she had put on him. After cutting her throat, he went to Tiesler’s computer to look for books on witchcraft.
The jury convicted LeCroy in 2004 of carjacking, which resulted in death, and recommended a death sentence.
LeCroy’s attorneys attempted to stop the appeals execution for a number of reasons, including the fact that his trial attorneys failed to properly emphasize evidence of his upbringing and mental health that could have persuaded the jurors not to impose a death sentence.
The petition to Trump found that the man who killed LeCroy’s brother Gregory Favors pleaded guilty to a state court and received a life sentence. He argued that the two cases show how arbitrary the outcome of capital cases can be.