Monday, March 26, 2012

Mississippi executed man for killing young mother

The 10th Execution of 2012

Larry Matthew Puckett was executed Mississippi on March 20, 20112.  He killed his former boss's wife, Rhonda Griffis, in 1995.  At the time of the killing Puckett was 18 years old.

After several deep breaths, a long blink and a subtle widening of the eyes, Puckett lay motionless for more than 10 minutes as Cecil and Nancy Hatten watched through a plate glass window.
He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., reported the Hattiesburg American.

"Today we witnessed the result of a choice made by Matt Puckett," said Nancy Hatten following the execution. "If he had chosen to live as a law-abiding citizen rather than choosing to murder our daughter - our only child - who was a wife and mother, we would not be here today," reported the American.

Puckett was not so talkative Tuesday.

"No," was the final word to leave his mouth, spoken into a microphone suspended from the ceiling above the gurney he was secured to when asked if he had any last words.

He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1996 killing Griffis', a young mother of two. Capital murder is statutorily defined in Mississippi as murder committed during the course of another felony.

"Nothing will ever fill that void," Nancy Hatten said of the death of her 28-year-old daughter. "It will always be in our lives, the void that Matt caused. There will be closure to this on the side of justice, but there will never be closure for us for our daughter as part of our lives," reported the American.

Before his execution, Puckett lay on the gurney blinking erratically behind bespectacled eyes as Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel, Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee, Sunflower County Sheriff James Haywood, the Hattens and media representatives sat behind a plate glass window overlooking him in a white, brick-walled room.

According to the American, Puckett had been at MSP's "Unit 17," where prisoners are executed, for 48 hours before his execution. His final holding cell is part of a short, red brick building with tiny windows surrounded by two rows of razor-wire fence with electrified wires in between that contained only him and prison staff.

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