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S. Carolina Carries out Execution

November 8, 1997

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Earl Matthews was executed by injection, 13 years after he shot and killed a teen-ager while she sat in a car eating tacos with her boyfriend.

Matthews used his final statement on Friday in the state’s first early evening execution to warn today’s young people not to make the same mistakes he did.

``I can’t count the number of people who tried to tell me some things for my own good. I let it go in one ear and out the other,″ Matthews said in the statement read by his attorney before the injection.

``I was a foolish young boy, and I did foolish things. Young people, listen to me. When older people tell you some things, you better listen.″

Matthews blinked once, exhaled and his face went ashen as the deadly chemicals flowed into his bloodstream.

``He suffered an infinitely more peaceful death than his victim did,″ said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, who witnessed the execution.

Matthews was convicted of shooting and killing Lucia Aimar and wounding her boyfriend in 1984. He had apparently tried to rob the couple as they sat in their car eating tacos near a Charleston drive-through restaurant.

South Carolina had traditionally scheduled executions at 1 a.m. Death penalty opponents had hoped the 6 p.m. execution would increase public awareness and outrage. Prison officials said they scheduled the execution at that time only because they wanted to make the event easier on victims’ families, judges, prison officials and others in the process.

Texas also executes inmates at 6 p.m. Arizona is moving its executions from midnight to late afternoon. Virginia is moving its executions from midnight to 9 p.m.

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