Officials in Boise, Idaho are preparing this morning to carry out the state’s second execution in 17 years, with the lethal injection of Richard Leavitt.
Leavitt is charged with the 1984 murder of Danette Elg in Blackfoot. She had been stabbed 15 times. Leavitt has long claimed his innocence.
“I’m about to be executed for a crime I did not commit,” Leavitt told KBOI-TV senior reporter Scott Logan from Death Row in a phone interview Friday afternoon.
“I did not kill, I was not there, I did not mutilate,” Leavitt told KBOI-TV. “I’m prepared for Tuesday,” he said. “I’ve made my peace with God—I know where I’m going…I hope the people of Idaho, who I am dying in the name of, can sleep a lot better at night….”
The execution has been making news lately because of the state’s move to using 1 drug instead of the usual 3 drug cocktail and also due to a skirmish with media outlets, who requested to view the execution. Prison officials tried to restrict access, but an appeals court sided with the Associated Press and other news groups, calling the move unconstitutionally restrictive.
A local media outlet is live blogging the execution, if anyone wants to follow along. Here’s what they’ve posted thus far:
5:50AM-We have arrived at the media tent. The sun is starting to rise. The areas that will be open to protesters open at 6.
6:45AM-All prisons in the state, including the Idaho Women’s Correctional Center in Pocatello, are on a modified lockdown, according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Jeff Ray. That means all prisoners are being confined to their housing units and their meals are being served to them. At 8AM all prisons will go on total lockdown. This is so the Department of Corrections administration can focus solely on the execution. Additional guards are in place at the prison south of Boise but because it’s easier to manage prisoners when they are in their housing units the number of additional guards is minimal.
7:05AM-Just got back from checking to see what kind of turnout there was for death penalty protesters. No one has showed up yet but the execution is still three hours away. Some reports suggest they won’t show until 8 or 9. The media tent goes on lockdown at 8 so we may not get any video of protesters.
8:20AM-Department of Corrections Director Brent Reinke just gave a briefing. He said his staff was prepared to carry out the death warrant issued by 7th District Judge Jon Shindurling. He also said his staff takes no joy in carrying out the execution. Richard Leavitt has not asked for a spiritual advisor. He has received several sedatives since last night. He was meeting with his attorneys this morning in his cell. Director Reinke described his mood as “resolved.” The inmate population did not act out at the time of the Rhoades execution and officials do not expect any acting out today. Death row inmates gave a card to Paul Ezra Rhoades before his execution. The director says no such card has been delivered today.
8:30AM-So far five people are demonstrating against the death penalty. The crowd is expected to grow.
9:15AM-The media witnesses are in place. I
9:30AM-Prison officials have started moving Richard Leavitt to the execution chamber. There are 25 protesters against the death penalty and one demonstrating for it.