Douglas Christopher Thomas, who killed his girlfriend's parents when he was 17 years old, was executed tonight after final pleas for a stay were rejected.
Thomas, 26, was pronounced dead of an injection at 9:03 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center, less than an hour after Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) rejected a request to commute his sentence to life without parole. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay of execution earlier in the day.
The case drew attention because Thomas was 17 when he committed the crime. He is one of two men scheduled to be executed in Virginia this week for crimes committed when they were juveniles.
Thomas's appeal was based on an international agreement the United States signed, but that the U.S. Senate refused to ratify, that prohibits executing juveniles.
A corrections official said Thomas made no final statement.
Thomas shot and killed James Baxter Wiseman and Kathy Wiseman as they slept in their Middlesex home on Nov. 10, 1990. The Wisemans had been trying to break up the relationship between Thomas and their daughter.
In a telephone interview last week from death row at the Sussex I State Prison near Waverly, Thomas said it was unfair that he faces execution while his girlfriend, convicted as a juvenile for the same crime, was released years ago.
"What I did when I was 17 was wrong, and yes I should be punished, but to pay the ultimate price while my co-defendant, who is just as guilty as I am, has been released to go on with a normal life . . . is a little extreme."
Jessica Wiseman was 14 when she urged Thomas to kill her parents.
She was convicted of murder as a juvenile because she was too young to be tried as an adult.
She received the maximum penalty of custody in a juvenile prison until age 21 and was released in 1997.
Gilmore, in denying clemency, said Thomas's responsibility under the law wasn't any less because of the protections afforded his younger accomplice.
"Indeed, in a society where the incidence of youth violence has increased, we must continue to demand complete accountability for such terrible crimes," the governor said.
Steve Edward Roach, 23, is scheduled to be executed Thursday. In 1993, when he was 17, he shot a Greene County woman to death and stole her car.
CAPTION: Above, Douglas Christopher Thomas, 26, was executed by injection for two 1990 killings.
CAPTION: Left, Thomas is escorted to a hearing in January 1991. He shot and killed his girlfriend's parents at age 17.