A man who had used a wheelchair since his spinal cord was injured in a prison brawl shuffled to the electric chair with help from guards and was put to death for murdering three people in a holdup.
Charles Stamper, 39, was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday at Greensville Correctional Center.In a final statement read by the prison chaplain, Stamper said his execution "bruised and demeaned humanity" and he hoped his death would yield "abundant fruit" for others like himself.
Death penalty foes contended the execution was unnecessary because Stamper was no longer a danger, as a result of his handicap. Some advocates for the disabled argued that he was entitled to no special consideration.
His lawyers also claimed that Stamper wasn't a danger and said there was insufficient proof that he committed the murders. The U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, rejected a last-ditch attempt to halt the execution.
Stamper, convicted of killing three co-workers in 1978 at a suburban Richmond restaurant where he was a cook, had asked for permission to walk to the electric chair in leg braces and with a walker.
"He maintains a sense of dignity even under these circumstances," Dennis W. Dohnal, one of his attorneys, said Monday. "He is a very proud person."
The request was denied, but Wayne Brown, prison operations officer, refused to say why.