Gardner execution set tonight
State high court denies request for stay
By Glenn Smith (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Friday, December 5, 2008
After 13 years on South Carolina's Death Row, convicted murderer Joseph Gardner is scheduled to be executed tonight by lethal injection in Columbia.
Gardner is set to die at 6 p.m. for his role in the rape, torture and killing of 25-year-old Melissa "Missi" McLauchlin in December 1992.
Gardner helped brutalize McLauchlin at a North Charleston home before he shot her and dumped her body along a Dorchester County road.
The state Supreme Court on Thursday denied Gardner's request for relief and a stay of his execution. He can appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but had not done so by late Thursday, according to court officials.
Gardner also has not requested clemency from the governor's office, according to Joel Sawyer, the governor's press secretary.
Gardner would be the 281st person executed in South Carolina since 1912, and the 40th inmate put to death in the state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. He would be the third inmate executed in the state this year.
McLauchlin's parents, who live in Live Oak, Fla., don't plan to attend the execution. Her father, Clair McLauchlin, has said the event would simply reopen old wounds and do little to ease the grief he and family have endured since Dec. 30, 1992.
The Detroit native was found guilty in 1995 and sentenced to die. Two other men charged in the case received life sentences for murder, and two others who prosecutors said raped McLauchlin each received less than 10 years in prison as part of plea deals.http://charleston.net/news/2008/dec/05/gardner_execution_set_tonight64063/