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Convicted Killer Executed in Wash.

August 28, 2001

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) _ A 58-year-old man who confessed to strangling and stabbing a woman inside a church in 1998 was executed Tuesday morning by injection.

James Homer Elledge spoke no final words before he was put to death. He had taken no legal steps to prevent his execution, and had told his lawyer not to put on a defense during the penalty phase of his trial.

Elledge pleaded guilty in 1998 to aggravated first-degree murder for the death of Eloise Jane Fitzner. He was on parole for a 1974 killing when he killed Fitzner and sexually assaulted another woman at the Lighthouse Free Methodist Church in Lynnwood.

``There is a very wicked part of me, and this wicked part of me needs to die,″ the Everett man told the jury that sentenced him to death for Fitzner’s slaying.

On April 18, 1998, Elledge lured Fitzner, 47, and another woman to the church where he worked part time as a janitor, promising them dinner and gifts. He tied up the women with nylon rope. He strangled and stabbed Fitzner, then took the other woman to his trailer in Everett and sexually assaulted her.

Fitzner’s body was found in the church basement the next day.

Elledge would say later that he was angry with Fitzner, whom he believed had tried to break up his marriage.

In 1975, Elledge was convicted for the 1974 slaying of a Seattle motel manager who was bludgeoned 28 times with a hammer. He had been on parole for three years when he killed Fitzner.

In 1965, Elledge robbed an Albuquerque, N.M., convenience store, kidnapped the female clerk and doused her with gasoline. Police said she escaped before he could set her on fire.

Elledge was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and attempting to commit a violent crime and was sentenced to 10 to 50 years. He served only about three years.

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