Andre Graham was executed tonight for an October 1993 robbery and slaying outside a Richmond restaurant, despite claims from two other death row inmates that an accomplice said Graham wasn't the shooter.
Graham, 29, was put to death by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center for the slaying of Sheryl Stack. He was pronounced dead at 9:04 p.m.
He shook his head no when asked whether he had a final statement.
Less than an hour before the execution, Gov. James S. Gilmore III (R) rejected Graham's clemency petition, noting that Stack was killed execution-style. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied a stay late in the day.
Stack's boyfriend, Edward Martin, was shot but lived and identified Graham as the gunman who approached the couple that night, ordered them out of the car and onto the ground and promised not to hurt them if they closed their eyes.
Martin's eyes were closed when he was shot, but he testified that Graham was the last person he saw with a gun. Graham maintains that his accomplice, Mark Sheppard, shot Stack and Martin.
Two death row inmates--James Henry Roane Jr. and a man who spoke to the Richmond Times-Dispatch on condition of anonymity--said they had heard Sheppard say Graham was innocent. Sheppard was executed in January for an unrelated double slaying.
David Botkins, a spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark L. Earley (R), said: "Death row inmates have nothing better to do than perpetuate lies and myths about third-party killers, last-minute evidence and a host of other smoke screens to try to avoid the death penalty. Rather than trying to tie the legal system in knots at the last minute, they should be seeking forgiveness and apologizing to the victim's family."
Graham's attorney, Jeff Stredler, said the defense has a letter from Sheppard to Graham in which Sheppard concedes that Graham didn't shoot the couple.
Graham's execution was the 14th this year in Virginia, the most in any year since the state resumed executions in 1982.