UK & World News
Multiple Murderer Finally Gets Execution Wish
A man who strangled two cellmates, and threatened to go on killing, has become the first to be executed in the US this year.
Robert Gleason died in Virginia's electric chair at 9:08pm on Wednesday at the Greensville Correctional Centre.
The 42-year-old was the first to choose to die by electrocution since 2010.
Before being lowered into the chair, Gleason winked into the witness booth.
"Can they hear me out there?" he asked before ending with an Irish expletive and "God bless".
A metal helmet was placed on his head and a clamp on his right calf.
His face was covered with a leather strap with a triangle cut out for his nose.
Then his body tensed as he was given two 90-second cycles of electric current.
In Virginia and nine other states, inmates can choose between the chair and lethal injection.
All 42 prisoners put to death in the US in 2012 died from a lethal injection.
Unusually Gleason had fought last-minute attempts by former attorneys to stop the execution, arguing he deserved to die for what he did.
Gleason was serving life in prison for a 2007 murder when he killed his cellmate 63-year-old Harvey Watson in 2009.
He remained in the cell with the lifeless body for more than 15 hours before officers found out.
"Someone needs to stop it. The only way to stop me is put me on death row," Gleason told the AP news agency.
"The death part don't bother me. This has been a long time coming. It's called karma," he added.
When the system was not moving fast enough, Gleason strangled 26-year-old Aaron Cooper through the wire fencing that separated their individual cages on the recreation yard in 2010.
He said the body count would rise if his warnings were not heeded.
Gleason also claimed he had killed many more but refused to provide details - except that they were all alleged criminals.
"I ain't saying I'm a better person for killing criminals, but I've never killed innocent people," Gleason said.
"I killed people that's in the same lifestyle as me, and they know, hey, these things can happen."
Lawyers who tried to intervene on Gleason's behalf argued he was severely disturbed.
They said his mental competency had deteriorated over the time he was held in isolation on death row.