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N.C. Man Executed for 1993 Murder

December 5, 2003

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ A man convicted of fatally shooting a storekeeper during an attempted robbery was executed early Friday.

Robbie James Lyons, 31, died by injection and was the seventh inmate executed this year in North Carolina, the most since 1949 when 10 people were put to death, officials with the Corrections Department said.

``It is from Allah that I come and it is to Allah that I return,″ Lyons said in a last statement. ``If my death brings another person happiness, then I’m happy for them.″

Lawyers for Lyons had said they wouldn’t file last-minute court appeals, relying instead of a clemency petition filed with Gov. Mike Easley. Easley declined Thursday night to commute Lyons’ sentence to life in prison, saying he found no reason to do so.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson also had sent Easley a letter urging clemency for Lyons, saying Lyons had been beaten frequently, forced to drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and use crack cocaine at a young age.

Lyons was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to death for the pistol slaying of Stephen Wilson Stafford. The victim was shot after he tried to grab a Lyons’ .22-caliber pistol during an attempted robbery of Stafford’s store Sept. 25, 1993.

Lyons’ two state-appointed lawyers, Kirk Osborn and Ernest Conner, had argued that Lyons didn’t have good legal representation when he was charged and tried, and that he has a mental defect.

But Assistant District Attorney David Hall said Lyons had an IQ of 110 and was a violent man.

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