William Emmett LeCroy, 50, today became the sixth federal inmate executed by lethal injection this year at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute.
His death was announced at 9:06 p.m., less than 20 minutes after the execution began in the Death House at the federal prison complex.
LeCroy deferred his last statement to a letter he said he mailed to Sister Barbara Battista of the Sisters of Providence.
"Sister Battista is about to receive through postal service my last statement," LeCroy said.
LeCroy lay calmly with his arms stretched out for the IVs administering the drug. His graying beard was visible above the sheet covering his body. He then stared at the ceiling as the executioner administered the fatal drug that slowed his breathing and stopped his heart.
Battista was in the execution chamber as LeCroy’s spiritual advisor. She recited prayers from the "Divine Mercy Chaplet" as LeCroy blinked then slowly closed his eyes and began breathing through his mouth.
“It's just such another sad day that another person was killed by our government,” Battista said after the execution.
“It just continues to be, for me, such an experience of violence. Highly orchestrated. Highly controlled. And yet a man loses his life.”
Battista said she was able to visit with LeCroy briefly before the execution, and she mentioned to him that all of the protesters outside the prison were eating his favorite candy — Milk Duds — and that caused him to laugh as he was lying strapped to the execution table.
A one-page statement from the victim’s family was presented to journalists following the execution. The family chose not to speak in person.
“Today justice was finally served,” the statement from Tom Tiesler began. “William LeCroy died a peaceful death in stark contrast to the horror he imposed on my daughter Joann. He was allowed to live 19 years longer than Joann, with us taxpayers paying for his food, shelter and medical care.
“I am unaware that he ever showed any remorse for his evil actions, his life of crime or for the horrific burden he caused Joann’s loved ones.”
Tiesler described his daughter as a good student who graduated from college with honors. Her plans were to start her own medical practice and get married.
In 2001, LeCroy broke into the rural Georgia residence of Joann Lee Tiesler, 30, and waited for her to come home. He was convicted of murder by slashing her throat and stabbing her after binding and raping her. He was arrested driving Tiesler’s truck two days later.
On March 10, 2004, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found him guilty of murder and taking Tiesler's vehicle across state lines.
Tiesler lived near one of LeCroy's relatives. He told investigators he believed Tiesler might have been his old babysitter who had sexually molested him. He said he realized after killing Tiesler she was not the babysitter.
Court documents say LeCroy, a believer in witchcraft, thought the babysitter had hexed him as a child.
On Thursday, federal inmate Christopher Vialva is scheduled to be given a lethal injection. Vialva will be the first African-American on federal death row to be executed this year, following a 17-year hiatus in federal executions.
Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.