Virginia executes convicted murderer
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Virginia put a convicted murderer to death by lethal injection on Tuesday in the third U.S. execution since the Supreme Court ended an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment last month.
Kevin Green, 31, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1998 shooting death of a convenience store owner during a robbery, was put to death shortly after 10 p.m. EDT at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia.
The execution had been schedule for 9 p.m. but was delayed while a federal judge court considered a final motion by Green's lawyers.
Green was the first person executed in Virginia since November 9, 2006, and the third death row inmate executed since the Supreme Court on April 16 upheld the three-drug cocktail used for lethal injections.
The ruling ended an unofficial moratorium in effect since late September when the Supreme Court agreed to decide an appeal from two Kentucky death row inmates who argued the commonly used lethal injection method inflicted unnecessary pain and suffering.
After the Supreme Court's ruling, Georgia became the first to execute an inmate on May 6, followed by Mississippi on May 21. After Virginia, the next execution is scheduled for June 3 in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
In Virginia, the execution occurred after Gov. Timothy Kaine rejected a request for clemency, based on claims that Green is mentally retarded.
"Having carefully reviewed the Petition for Clemency and judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was recommended by the jury, and then imposed and affirmed by the courts," Kaine said in a statement.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday also denied Green's appeal and his request for a stay of execution. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice John Paul Stevens in dissenting.
In his Supreme Court appeal, Green's lawyers argued that a federal appeals court had erred when it ruled the statute of limitations had expired for his claims of ineffective assistance by his attorneys who represented him at trial.
Green was convicted of shooting the owners of a small-town convenience store in Brunswick County in southern Virginia during the August 21, 1998 robbery with his cousin.
The wife, Patricia Vaughan, 53, was shot four times and died while her husband, Lawrence Vaughan, was shot twice, but survived. Green and his cousin stole nearly $10,000.
(Reporting by James Vicini and JoAnne Allen, Editing by Anthony Boadle)
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