Steven T. Judy, a 24-year-old murderer of a young mother and her three children, a man who styled himself as a hopeless psychopath, was put to death in the electric chair here early today.
Judy was electrocuted shortly after midnight in the Indiana State Prison not far from the shores of Lake Michigan and the serene Indiana Dunes. He was the fourth person executed in the United States in the last four years, the first in Indiana in two decades.
"I don't hold no grudges. This is my doing. I'm sorry it happened," Judy told prison guards.
Prison spokesman Thomas Hanlon said Judy was "very calm. He walked to the chair very quietly."
The officer of Gov. Robert D. Orr in Indianapolis said Judy was PRONOUNCED DEAD AT 12:11 A.M. CST. A prison official set the time of death a minute later.
Judy had not exhausted his appeals, but he wanted to die. Last-minute efforts by others -- including the mother he rejected long ago and a fellow Death Row inmate who believed the execution would prejudice his own chance to avoid the electric chair -- were rejected.
The intervenors included the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and various church leaders. Judy scoffed at them all, particularly the ACLU, asking where they were when he really needed help -- a dozen years ago when his mind warped as a child and he became, as he put it, a psychopath who preyed on women. It was too late now, Judy said.
Also intervening was Mark Chasteen, 25, the husband of the woman Judy raped and killed after a chance highway meeting two years ago, the father of the three young children Judy drowned afterward. But Chasteen acted to ensure the execution went off as scheduled.
"I couldn't accept the fact that he might not be executed," said Chasteen, who joined an Indiana anticrime group called Protect the Innocent. "I would lose my belief in our system totally."
Judy, a man who alternately wisecracked and turned sullen, agreed. He said it was time to die.
"I've got a whole box full of bad memories," Judy told reporters Friday night. "Anything good never made an impression on me. I remember things like my mother trying to shoot my dad, and him beating the hell out of her."
For his last meal, Judy ordered prime rib, lobster tails, baked potatoes with sour cream, a chef's salad with French dressing and four beers. Prison authorities said no to the beers.
It was the fourth execution in the United States since a 10-year moratorium ended with the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of capital punishment when juries are given discretion on sentences under guidance of a judge. In many ways, the Judy case is similar to the first execution after that moratorium, the 1977 firing squad death of Gary Gilmore in Utah. Gilmore also wanted to die, declined to exhaust his appeals and set the stage for the ruling that outsiders had no grounds for intervention in the conclusion of a death sentence.
Judy was erratic in his expression of feelings about the slayings of Terry L. Chasteen and her children. At his trial he said photographs of the dead children "upset me, turn my stomach."
But Friday he told reporters, "I can't say I regret it, honestly. I don't lose sleep over it. It's just something that happened."
Judy told his foster-mother, Mary Carr of Indianapolis, he doesn't really remember drowining the children. He also advised her about the ways she and other women, whom he called "too gullible," could deal with rape.
At his trial he said he had committed 13 rapes, starting when he was 13 years old.
Judy shocked his defense attorney by demanding to make a statement to the jurors during their deliberations over sentencing. "You better vote for the death penalty," he told them, "because if you don't, I'll get out and it may be one of you next or your family."
He then turned to the courtroom audience and announced: "You just love to see this."
None, however, were in the prison to see it. He could choose 10 witnesses for his execution; he selected only two, his attorney, Steve L. Harris, and his foster-father, Robert Carr. A handful of prison officials, including the prison doctor, also were selected to watch. The warden, Jack Duckworth, was assigned to throw the switch, sending 2,200 volts through Judy's body and the device that hadn't been used in Indiana since 1961.
The chair is nicknamed Old Betsy -- its design taken from the electric chair at Sing Sing, the wooden frame carved out of the gallows that the state of Indiana used for executions before going modern.