Joseph Gardner - South Carolina - Scheduled Execution
Scheduled Executions
Upcoming Executions
Start : Friday 5 December 2008, 22:00
End : Friday 5 December 2008, 22:00

Joseph Gardner - South Carolina - Scheduled Execution for December 5, 2008

Victims: Melissa "Missi" McLauchlin

The Crime: The events leading to these crimes began on the evening of December 30, 1992, when the victim, an intoxicated young woman, got into an automobile with three men she did not know. The men drove to a trailer, where the victim engaged in sex acts with several different men. While the victim initially voluntarily participated in these acts, she soon objected, but the assaults continued. Joseph Gardner attempted to sodomize the victim over her protests. When the men were finished, the victim was instructed to bathe. She was then placed in handcuffs, blindfolded, and taken from the trailer to a waiting car with a heavy coat placed over her head. Three men got in the car: the victim was forced onto the floorboard area in the backseat, one man sat beside her, and appellant took the front passenger's seat. The men drove for a period of time, leaving the county where the trailer was located and entering Dorchester County.

The victim freed herself from the handcuffs, and began to struggle. Joseph Gardner turned towards the back of the car, pushed the victim's head back, and shot her twice in the face. The driver pulled the car onto the shoulder, and Joseph Gardner shot the victim three more times. The men then dumped the victim out of the car, and left her on the roadside. The men returned to the trailer, and went out nightclubbing. Passersby saw the body on the side of the highway, and called for help. While the victim was still alive when the first people stopped, she soon died.

News: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina man convicted of torturing and killing a woman 16 years ago has been executed by lethal injection.

Joseph M.L. Gardner was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. Friday in the state's death chamber in Columbia. He did not make a final statement, but did mouth the words "Thank you. I'm OK," to a relative who witnessed his death.

Gardner was convicted in the 1992 kidnapping, rape and slaying of 25-year-old Melissa "Missi" McLauchlin.

Police said Gardner and his co-defendants decided to kill a white woman as retribution for slavery. But the victim's family and Gardner's attorneys say they don't think the killing had anything to do with racial revenge.

Gardner is the 40th person executed in South Carolina since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Last Meal: None

Final Statement: "I would like to apologize to the family and loved ones of Melissa McLauchlin for taking her from them and causing them so much pain. I was 22 years old then, and I am 38 now. While I have always been sorry for what I did, the passage of time has allowed me to mature, reflect and experience spiritual growth in ways that were foreign to me as a young man. I have repented for what I have done, and I am very grateful to the many people who have prayed with me and for me over the years and in my final days. I deeply regret that my actions deprived Ms. McLauchlin of the chance to marry, have children and experience life with God. I have spent years praying for her, and I encourage all people of faith to do the same."

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