Thomas Edwin Loden Jr, a 58-year-old former marine, was executed for raping and murdering a teen girl in Mississippi more than 20 years ago. Loden was on death row since 2001 after he pleaded guilty to capital murder, rape and four counts of sexual battery against 16-year-old Leesa Marie Gray.
Loden Carved "I Am Sorry" on His Chest
Evening Standard reported that Loden had forced the victim into his van before sexually assaulting her. The incident occurred on 22nd June 2000 when Gray, who used to work at her uncle's restaurant in northeast Mississippi, left work after dark. On the way she got a flat tire when Loden, a Marine Corps recruiter, stopped and offered to help her.
"Don't worry. I'm a Marine. We do this kind of stuff," he said, according to court records. However, the former marine got angry after Gray allegedly told him that she would never want to be a Marine.
Following the conversation Loden forced Gray inside his van and spent four hours sexually assaulting her before strangling her to death, as per the outlet. The Court records also revealed that Loden was found lying by the side of a road the following day. Words "I'm sorry" were seen carved into his chest apart from some self-inflicted injuries.
Loden Was Remorseful During His Dying Hours
New York Post reported that Loden was put to death by a lethal cocktail of drugs injected at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman on Wednesday night. The outlet claimed that the accused admitted to being "deeply remorseful" before the injection started.
"For the past 20 years, I've tried to do a good deed every single day to make up for the life I took from this world. I know these are mere words and cannot erase the damage I did. If today brings you nothing else, I hope you get peace and closure," Loden was quoted by the officials. He concluded his last words by saying "I love you" in Japanese.
Describing her daughter as a "happy-go-lucky" teenager, Gray's mother, Wanda Farris, said that the teenager was always smiling and wanted to become an elementary school teacher.
Stating that even though she forgave Loden years ago, Farris said that she believes in the death penalty. "I don't particularly want to see somebody die. But I do believe in the death penalty. ... I do believe in justice," she was quoted by the outlet.