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Paul Woodward - Mississippi Death Row - Scheduled Execution
Scheduled Executions
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Start : Thursday 20 May 2010, 2:00
End : Thursday 20 May 2010, 2:00


Paul Woodward - Mississippi Death Row - Scheduled Execution for May 19, 2010

Victims:Rhonda Crane

The Crime: Around noon on July 23, 1986, Rhonda Crane, age twenty-four, was traveling on Mississippi Highway 29 south of New Augusta in Perry County, Mississippi to join her parents on a camping trip. A white male driving a white log truck forced her car to stop in the middle of the road. The white male then exited the truck with a pistol in his hand and forced Crane to get into his truck. The man then drove the victim to an isolated area, forced her out of his truck and into the woods at gunpoint and forced her to have sexual relations with him. Rhonda Crane was shot in the back of her head and died.

"Crane’s automobile was left on the highway with the engine running, the driver’s door open and her purse on the car seat. A motorist traveling in a vehicle on the same highway saw a white colored, unloaded, logging truck moving away from the Crane vehicle, and notified the authorities. Additionally, a housewife residing on a bluff along the highway at the location of the Crane car noted a logging truck with a white cab stop in front of her driveway. A white male exited and walked toward the back of his truck and returned with a blonde haired woman wearing yellow clothing. As he held her by her arm, the male yelled sufficiently loud for the housewife to hear the words “get in, get in,” and forced the blonde woman into the driver’s door of the truck and then drove off. The housewife investigated the scene on the highway in front of her house, discovered the abandoned Crane car, and notified the authorities.

"Law enforcement officers began an investigation to locate Crane. The officers discovered that Paul Everette Woodward unloaded logs at a pulp mill and departed the yard at 11:36 a.m. in a white Mack log truck. Woodward arrived at his wood yard at approximately 12:45 to 1:00 p.m. The yard manager noted that he was late arriving at the yard and was wet from sweating. A drive from the mill to the wood yard takes approximately thirty minutes. A sheriff’s deputy stopped Woodward, who was driving a white Mack logging truck, around 2:00 p.m. on the afternoon of July 23, to ask if he had seen anything that would assist in the investigation of Rhonda Crane’s disappearance. Woodward replied that he had not seen anything. Through the investigation, it was ascertained that Woodward was the only driver of a white logging truck operating at the nearby timber yards on that date. On the following day, Crane’s body was located in the nearby wooded area by her father and a friend.

"Woodward was arrested, and ultimately he made both written and videotaped confessions. Woodward also confessed to his employer over the telephone."

Deathrow inmate Paul Everette Woodward was executed this evening 23 years after he was condemned to die for killing 24-year-old Rhonda Crane of Escatawpa. Woodward was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m.
Before 6 p.m., Gov. Haley Barbour sent a letter to Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps saying he denied clemency for Woodward, 62. None of Woodward’s family members was present for his execution. Woodward also had no visits from relatives in his final days. His attorney, Jackson Williams, was among the witnesses. So were Crane’s sister, Renee Ladner, and Perry County Sheriff Jimmy Dale Smith. “I think (Woodward)’s given up,” Epps said earlier. “I really sense that in talking to him.” Woodward requested that his body be released to the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Leading up to the execution Woodward continued to be talkative in his cell at Parchman’s Unit 17, adjacent to the execution room. Epps said Woodward did not express remorse over Crane’s death. Woodward made no phone calls, but he visited with Williams and his other attorney, Nina Rifkind, and spiritual adviser William “Buck” Buchannan from 3:10-3:56 p.m. Epps said Woodward was thought to have at least five children and 11 grandchildren. Still, Woodward requested no family be present for his execution and placed no family members on his approved call list. “I think a reasonable person would assume he doesn’t have close family ties,” Epps said earlier. “We have had no requests from family to visit.”

Last Meal:
Hamburger — grilled, well done, seasoned with salt and pepper — with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles; French fries with salt; fried onion rings; a bowl of chili without beans; a pint of vanilla ice cream and two 20-ounce root beers. He did not request a sedative.

Final Statement:
"I would like to say the Lord's Prayer. Anyone who wants to join in, feel free to." And then, he recited the Lord's Prayer in a low monotone. After finishing, he said, "Thank-you, Warden, I'm sorry Commissioner."

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