A man who killed a store owner by sawing at his neck with a pocketknife during a 1997 robbery became the 100th person executed in Virginia since capital punishment was reinstated three decades ago.
Robert Stacy Yarbrough was pronounced dead at 9:28 p.m. Wednesday at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. The 30-year-old was put to death by injection for the 1997 slaying of 77-year-old Cyril Hugh Hamby.
"Tell my kids I love them, and let's get it over with. Make people happy. Help celebrate the murder," Yarbrough said in his final words.
The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine refused to block the execution earlier Wednesday.
Virginia ranks second to Texas, which has 406, in the number of executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Virginia restarted its capital punishment program in 1982.
Corrections officials needed 17 minutes to insert the intravenous line. It took approximately 10 minutes for him to die.
"Everything proceeded normally, other than the delay siting the line," Corrections Department spokesman Larry Traylor said.
Yarbrough was convicted and sentenced to death in June 1998. He met with family members and his attorneys Wednesday, Traylor said. He did not request a spiritual adviser.
Yarbrough's last meal was fried chicken tenders and cheese pizza.
Hamby's family members attended the execution but did not want to comment.
Five executions were scheduled over two months in Virginia after a moratorium was lifted in April following the Supreme Court's finding that the method of lethal injection used in dozens of states is constitutional.
Kevin Green was executed in May. Kaine commuted triple killer Percy Walton's sentence days before his scheduled June 10 execution because of Walton's deteriorated mental state. Two other men - Kent Jermaine Jackson and Christopher Scott Emmett - are scheduled to be executed in July.