ANGOLA, LA., JUNE 7 -- Benjamin Berry, the first of six convicts to be executed in Louisiana this month, went silently to his death in the electric chair early today for killing a bank guard during a 1978 robbery.
Berry, 31, appeared in a stupor as officers escorted him to the death chamber shortly after midnight. He indicated he had no final statement and the first of three jolts of electricity was applied at 12:09 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 12:16 a.m.
Berry, who was on death row for 8 1/2 years, was the 76th convict put to death in the nation since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on capital punishment in 1976 and the eighth in Louisiana since the state reinstituted capital punishment in 1977.
Five other convicts are scheduled to be executed in Louisiana this month, including Alvin Moore, scheduled to die between midnight Monday and 1 a.m. (CDT) Tuesday for raping, robbing and fatally stabbing a Bossier City woman in 1980.
Berry, of Baton Rouge, was convicted of murdering an off-duty sheriff's deputy, who was moonlighting as a bank guard, in an exchange of gunfire during the Jan. 30, 1978, robbery of a branch of the Metairie Bank & Trust.
The guard, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputy Robert Cochran, had taken on the extra job to pay for an eye operation for his child.