July 25, 2008 / 3:12 AM / 11 years ago

Virginia executes man for killing of co-worker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A man convicted of the fatal beating of a co-worker in 2001 was put to death by lethal injection in Virginia on Thursday, becoming the fourth inmate in the state to be executed this year.

Christopher Emmett, 36, was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. EDT at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia, with relatives of the victim among the witnesses to the execution, a Department of Corrections spokesman said.

Emmett beat co-worker John Langley to death with the base of a brass lamp in a motel room to steal his money to buy crack cocaine, police said.

Emmett was granted two stays of execution last year while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the constitutionality of lethal injection as a method of execution.

In April, the court rejected a challenge by two Kentucky death row inmates who argued the lethal three-drug cocktail used in most U.S. executions violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment by inflicting needless pain and suffering.

The ruling cleared the way for the resumption of executions that had been on hold since late September when the Supreme Court agreed to decide the Kentucky case.

The court lifted Emmett’s stay of execution in May.

Hours before his scheduled execution, Emmett dropped his appeals. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, declined to intervene.

It was Virginia’s 102nd execution since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. Virginia ranks second behind Texas for executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Emmett requested a last meal but asked that the contents not be released.

Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor quoted Emmett as saying in his last statement: “Tell my family and friends I love them. Tell the governor he just lost my vote.”

Editing by Peter Cooney

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