http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/05/...t_publish.htmlWillie McNair, convicted of robbing, strangling and stabbing to death a southeast Alabama woman for whom he did yard work, died by lethal injection tonight as his victim's six children watched.
McNair, 44, did not look at victim Ella Foy Riley's children. He also declined to pray with the prison chaplain, made no final public statement and spent his last moments staring at the ceiling as the injection began at 6 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. by Alabama Corrections officials.
Pat Jones and her brothers Calvin, Don, John, Bobby and Wayne Riley wore buttons with their mother's photograph for the execution. The buttons said "You are not forgotten."
Wayne Riley, the youngest of the sons, issued a statement afterward: "I thank God for keeping myself, my four brothers and my sister alive and in good health so that we were able to see justice finally done. I ask that you pray for my family in the coming days and for the Willie McNair family, too, for they ... have suffered for what he has done."
Wayne Riley also said: "I can forgive Willie McNair for what he did because he paid the price with his life."
Later the six children gathered with other family members for a candle light vigil. Participating was District Attorney Doug Valeska, who prosecuted McNair.
Earlier in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court had turned down his McNair's final sentence appeal.
SpecialWillie McNair became the fourth person executed by the state of Alabama this year.
The Abbeville man had been on Death Row since 1991 for the May 21, 1990, slaying of Ella Foy Riley. Her daughter, Jones, found her mother stabbed and strangled in the kitchen of her Abbeville home. McNair had done yardwork for Riley in the past, and other members of his family had done work for her as well.
According to a case summary, McNair and a friend, Olin Grimsley, had been doing cocaine, wanted money to get some more, and had asked Riley for $20. She turned them down, and was attacked while she was getting McNair a drink of water. According to the state's filing in the case, McNair then took Riley's purse from the kitchen counter and he and Grimsley left the house. The next morning, after Riley's body was found, McNair admitted killing her when questioned by a sheriff's deputy.
The Riley children were able to witness the execution because Gov. Bob Riley, no relation to the victim, had signed into law a bill allowing up to six members of crime victim's family to watch the perpetrator's execution.
Before today's signing, Alabama law allowed only two witnesses for the victim, and only two for person to be executed.
Jones said she had written McNair a few months ago, and that in his reply, he had expressed remorse for her mother's death.
Carolyn Glanton, McNair's youngest sister, said the family wanted her brother, whom they called "Chubby," to be remembered as a "happy and lovable person.
"Chubby has a real good heart," Glanton said before her brother died. "If anybody . . . really knew him, they'd know how good a person he is."
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/story/720826.htmlA Phenix City man said he and his family found some closure Thursday when they witnessed the execution of their mother’s killer.
Don Riley, the owner of Riley Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., had waited 19 years for Willie McNair to die by lethal injection for the 1990 stabbing death of Ella Foy Riley, mother of six. Riley said his mother was attacked in her Abbeville home and a knife was broken in her body after she refused to give $20 to McNair.
“It’s a closure,” Riley said Friday. “You go 19 years trying to see the law does what it was written to do. It finally happened.”
John Riley, left, Wayne Riley and Bobby Riley, right, attend a news conference, following the Alabama execution of Willie McNair at Holman Prison near Atmore, Ala., Thursday, May 14, 2009, for the murder of their mother, Ella Foy Riley. The brothers wore a photo button of their mother that reads,"You Are Not Forgotten". (AP Photo/Garry Mitchell)
More than two hours before McNair was scheduled to die at Holman Prison, near Atmore, Ala., Riley said his family learned that Gov. Bob Riley signed a bill increasing the number of people who can witness a state execution. The law increased the number of immediate family members allowed from two to six, paving the way for all of the Riley siblings to attend.
Riley said his sister, Patricia Jones, lobbied lawmakers to win approval of the law. About 30 members of Riley’s family, including six siblings, made the trip to the prison. In addition to Riley and his sister, the other siblings included brothers Calvin Riley, John Malcom Riley, Bobby Riley and Wayne Riley.
They were seated shoulder to shoulder in a witness room just steps away from McNair. When he was asked if he had anything to say, McNair stood silent.
“I expected him to at least apologize,” Riley said. “Our family was good to his family all of our lives. Mother was always good to Willie McNair. She would do anything in the world for him.”
Riley said the condemned man paid more attention to the press nearby than the family members.
“He would not even look at us when the warden asked if he had any last words,” Riley said. “He wouldn’t even look our way. He turned over and looked at the other room with the press, gave them thumbs up.”
Riley could only think what it would have meant to the family if he had said, “Guys, I’m sorry.”
Over the years, Riley said McNair did write a letter to him and his sister stating he was sorry. The other siblings never heard those words from him or read them in a letter.
Anyone who saw Ella Foy Riley’s body knows the suffering she endured, Riley said, but that didn’t occur with McNair’s death.
“The way he died, he went to sleep,” Riley said. “He did no suffering.”
After a long process, the family can now find some peace, said Lynn Howard, Don Riley’s daughter.
“Granny was a strong Christian woman,” she said. “We have the satisfaction he finally has given his life. We can have a little peace.”