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Alabama Inmate Executed

January 7, 2000

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) _ A man convicted of killing a young girl during a robbery and kidnapping was executed in the state’s electric chair early Friday.

David Ray Duren, 37, was the first inmate to be electrocuted since the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in October to consider whether Florida’s use of the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment.

Duren was convicted of murder for the 1983 shooting death of Kathleen Bedsole, 16. He kidnapped the girl and her boyfriend, Chuck Leonard, from Leonard’s parked car, put them in the trunk and drove them to a secluded area where they were shot. Leonard survived.

Duren and an accomplice, David Kinder, were quickly captured. Kinder is serving life in prison without parole.

Duren fought his execution for 16 years before changing his mind. He admitted he was guilty and that the death penalty was appropriate.

``I can drag it out another three years or however long it took them to decide it,″ Duren told The Birmingham News on Wednesday. ``But that wouldn’t be fair to the victims’ family. It wouldn’t be fair to my family.″

Leonard, now a Baptist minister in South Carolina, said he spoke Wednesday with Duren, who told him he was a born-again Christian who sought God’s forgiveness.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Nebraska are the only states that use electrocution as the sole means of execution. Late Thursday, the Florida Legislature voted to change its law to allow inmates the option of lethal injection.

Alabama officials have said they are waiting to see if the Supreme Court’s ruling affects Florida alone.

Update hourly