Convicted child murderer Everett Lee Mueller was put to death tonight after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his plea for a stay and Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) refused to intervene.
Mueller, 51, was executed by injection at Greensville Correctional Center for the 1990 rape and murder of 10-year-old Charity Powers in the Richmond suburb of Chesterfield County. He was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m.
Mueller shook his head when asked if he wanted to make a final statement. He had been visited by his brother and mother earlier in the day.
Plans for the execution were not altered despite Hurricane Floyd, which battered southeastern Virginia with high winds and flooding rains. The hurricane caused no damage to the Greensville prison, which houses the death chamber.
Gilmore, in denying a request for clemency, noted that Mueller's conviction and death sentence had been upheld on multiple appeals. The high court voted 7 to 2 to refuse a stay, with justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the minority.
Charity's body was found in a shallow grave behind Mueller's home on Feb. 8, 1991, more than four months after she disappeared from a skating rink. Mueller was arrested four days later. Police said that he told them he abducted the girl, then raped and stabbed her behind his home.
In his clemency petition to Gilmore, Mueller contended that he did not kill Charity.
"With your help, I can prove my innocence. Do not let an innocent man be put to death," Mueller wrote in a six-page letter sent with the petition.
The petition said four boys who claim to have seen the man who abducted the girl failed to pick Mueller out of a photo lineup. The petition also contended that Mueller made up his confession to police.
"Exasperated, isolated and without the advice and protection of counsel, Mueller falsely told police what they insisted he must tell them in order to avoid a death sentence," the clemency petition said.
In his letter, Mueller said he found the girl's body while walking through the woods behind his home. He said he did not go to police for fear that he would be blamed for the crime because of his criminal record.
The petition said no physical or forensic evidence linked Mueller to the crime. It also said the jury in Mueller's trial was not told that he wouldn't have the possibility of parole if given a life sentence because of his three prior rape convictions.