A former US Marine who confessed to raping and killing a 16-year-old girl in 2000 was executed on Wednesday, December 14 in the state of Mississippi. Thomas Edwin Loden, 58, received a lethal injection at 18:00 (0000 GMT) at Parchman Penitentiary, an overcrowded prison in this conservative southern US state.
Thomas Loden had pleaded guilty to the kidnapping of Leesa Gray in 2000, who was isolated on a country road when her car had a flat tire. A former Marine and recruiter for this Army Corps, he had confessed to raping her several times in his van before choking and then suffocating her. The lode had been discovered the next day on the side of a road with the words “I’m sorry” engraved on his chest, according to court documents. He was sentenced to death in 2001.
The 18th prisoner executed in the United States in 2022
His killing Wednesday is the first in Mississippi this year and the second since 2013, when the state recently struggled to secure the lethal drugs needed for executions. He will be the 18th inmate to be executed in the United States in 2022. The death penalty is legal in nearly half of the 50 US states, but had so far been carried out in only five states this year: Alabama, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.