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Confessed Child Killer Executed in Nebraska’s Electric Chair

July 17, 1996

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A former Boy Scout leader who said he enjoyed ``seeing the fear″ of his murder victims was executed in the electric chair early Wednesday for stabbing two boys to death in 1983.

John Joubert, also a former airman, confessed to repeatedly stabbing and slashing Danny Jo Eberle, 13, and Christopher Walden, 12, near the Air Force Base where he was stationed.

After Joubert was convicted in Nebraska, he was convicted in Maine with strangling and stabbing 11-year-old Richard Stetson in Portland in 1982. He got a life prison term without parole for that killing.

``It was the power and the domination and seeing the fear,″ Joubert told the Omaha World-Herald last month in explaining why he killed the boys. ``That was more exciting than actually causing the harm.″

Joubert, 33, has said the murders were the culmination of years of psychosexual fantasies. He had asked the Nebraska Pardons Board to keep him alive so researchers could study him.

He wanted to be taken to Omaha, about 50 miles from Lincoln, for a brain scan before his execution so researchers could check for abnormalities.

State and prison officials denied the request because they feared potential security risks and legal appeals to delay the execution if any abnormalities were found.

The killings 13 years ago in Bellevue near Offutt Air Force Base kept the Omaha area in fear for three months. Joubert was caught after he tried unsuccessfully to abduct a preschool teacher, who then noted his car’s license plate number. He confessed later that day.

Joubert said he made one boy strip and lie in the snow as he slashed and strangled him. He also described how Danny begged for his life, promising not to turn Joubert in for stabbing him if he took the boy to a hospital.

``I stabbed him a couple more times,″ Joubert said.

Joubert’s lawyers gave up their legal battle shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court refused two requests to delay the execution so that Joubert could argue whether the electric chair was cruel and unusual punishment or whether Nebraska’s pardon’s system was unfair.

Nebraska is one of six states that use only the electric chair for executions.

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