The state of Missouri executed Richard Strong, a man sentenced to death in 2003 for fatally stabbing his then-23-year-old girlfriend and her young daughter from a previous relationship, on Tuesday by lethal injection.
The Missouri Department of Corrections announced that Strong, 47, died just before 7 p.m. at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri, The Huffington Post noted.
Alyshia Strong, the man's 14-year-old daughter with victim Eva Washington, had asked for clemency for her father prior to his execution, KTVI-TV reported.
"It's hard to go through all of this at my age and have to deal with the thought my father could be gone after tomorrow," Alyshia Strong said. "It's hard to sleep sometimes because I'm up thinking about what I have to do to save my dad's life."
Petrina Thomas, the aunt of 2-year-old victim Zandrea Thomas, issued a statement after witnessing Strong's execution.
"For 14 years, we have impatiently waited for this day to come," Thomas said. "It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree; the wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. The reality is we will grieve forever."
"Human life has dignity at any age," she added. "Nothing can justify the shedding of innocent blood or the taking of lives. You must take 100-percent responsibility for your choices and your actions and pay with your own life."
Strong's lawyers said they hoped to keep him from being executed during the appeals process by arguing that the jury was not properly instructed in how to consider the influencing factors that prosecutors raised, according to Missourinet.com
The department said, according to The Huffington Post, that Strong had a last meal of fried chicken, a cheeseburger, and donuts, and then he asked for forgiveness.
"Jehovah-jireh, you're my provider," the department said of Strong's last words, The Post noted. "Your grace is sufficient for me. Forgive me for my sin. Abba-Abba, take my soul in your hands."
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