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Man executed for killing aerospace engineer

April 24, 1997

ANGOLA, La. (AP) _ A man who was convicted of stabbing an aerospace engineer 13 times during a robbery was executed by injection early today.

``Wow!″ John Ashley Brown Jr. exclaimed as the lethal dose of drugs began flowing into his veins. He started shaking, then grew still.

He was pronounced dead at 12:12 a.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court twice turned down last-minute appeals Wednesday.

Brown, 35, was convicted of first-degree murder in the September 1984 stabbing of Omer Laughlin, who was robbed along with his wife, Patricia, outside a New Orleans restaurant.

Laughlin, 53, who worked on the Apollo and space shuttle programs, was stabbed with a large hunting knife that left deep gashes in his nose, mouth, lungs, heart, spine, arm and leg.

Police said Brown was washing Laughlin’s blood off his hands when they arrested him, and that he hid the murder weapon and the victim’s wallet in a patrol car en route to the station.

Brown admitted during his June 1985 sentencing that he killed Laughlin, but argued he was too drunk to be convicted of premeditated murder.

Steve Daffner, the victim’s stepson, told reporters afterwards that Brown’s death brings ``some satisfaction he will not perpetuate this on other people and destroy someone else’s family like he has ours.″

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