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Killer of Store Clerk is Executed

May 30, 1987

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) _ William Boyd Tucker denounced capital punishment and gave a thumbs-up sign to weeping supporters before going to his death in the electric chair for the 1977 murder of a teen-age convenience store clerk.

″I take full responsibility for my crime, but I must speak out against capital punishment,″ he said. ″No matter how sterile and sanitary you make this execution, it’s still murder.″

Tucker, 31, was pronounced dead at 7:29 p.m. Friday, nine minutes after an executioner switched on 2,000 volts of power. He was the 75th person executed in the United States since the death penalty was restored in 1976.

Tucker went to his death after the U.S. Supreme rejected an appeal in a 6-3 vote Friday afternoon. He had been scheduled to die on Wednesday but won 24- hour stays of execution from the high court and a federal appeals court.

Tucker was electrocuted for the stabbing of Kathleen Parry, 19, a pregnant newlywed robbed while he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

″In the years I have been in prison I grew up and matured with the help of a loving and merciful God,″ Tucker, who seemed almost in high spirits as he was led to the oak electric chair, said after he was strapped in.

A group of 25 death penalty supporters, including seven robed Ku Klux Klansmen, cheered as a hearse carried Tucker’s body out of the prison. Nearby, 22 opponents of capital punishment held hands in a circle and prayed.

Two of the victim’s brothers, John and Leonard Knipe of Columbus, said they had asked to be allowed to wait inside the prison to avoid being lumped together with the Klansmen, but were not allowed to enter.

Klansmen later patted the brothers on the back.

″We’re here to show that we went through 10 years of grief,″ Leonard Knipe said. ″That’s a lot of hurt. We just want it to be over.″

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