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Confessed Double Murderer Executed

February 25, 1998

DEER LODGE, Mont. (AP) _ A drifter who came to Montana to become a mountain man and wound up murdering a couple was executed, taking any hope of an explanation for the killings to his grave.

In the nine years Terry Allen Langford was on death row, he never said why he tied up and killed Ned and Celene Blackwood at their ranch home in 1988. The question haunted him as well, his aunt said.

``He said, `Every day I lay my head on the pillow, I ask myself what happened,‴ said Brenda Prangley, who spoke with Langford frequently by phone.

Langford, 31, was executed by injection after nine years of swinging back and forth between resignation and court appeals. Within hours of his arrest in 1988, he had confessed and requested the death penalty, but as late as Monday night he asked Gov. Marc Racicot for a delay. It was denied.

It was only the state’s second execution since 1943.

The North Carolina cabinetmaker had planned to live in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains but stumbled on the Blackwoods’ home. He raided their garage refrigerator, found a loaded .22-caliber rifle in Blackwood’s truck and forced Mrs. Blackwood to tie her husband’s hands. Then he tied both of them up in the living room and talked with them for several hours as they lay captive.

``There was a point where they were getting along fine,″ said Chris Prangley, Langford’s uncle. ``He said they were really nice people.″

Langford fired a shot into the back of Blackwood’s head and a second bullet into Mrs. Blackwood’s left ear. She didn’t die immediately, so he cut her throat. He was 46, she was 48.

He was captured the next month in Raleigh, N.C.

Strapped on the gurney with his arms outstretched, Langford declined to make a final statement.

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