Michael Worthington, the Missouri inmate who was sentenced to death for raping and killing his 24-year-old neighbor has been executed. The Missouri Department of Corrections has confirmed that 43-year-old Michael Worthington was executed by lethal injection earlier today. According to The Guardian, Worthington was pronounced dead by doctors at 12:11 a.m. August 6, 2014, making him the seventh person in the state to be executed this year.
According to Yahoo News, Michael was allowed to speak to his witnesses, a few of whom also included his relatives before the execution commenced. After being injected, Worthington lowered his head back to the pillow, closed his eyes and breathed heavily for about 15 seconds. Some witnesses cried after Worthington lost consciousness.
Worthington was sentenced to death in 1998 for his 1995 attack on his 24-year-old neighbor Melinda “Mindy” Griffin. Worthington raped and later killed Melinda. He had barged into her home for a burglary attempt. Following investigations, it was established that Michael Worthington was indeed behind the crime. He had also admitted that Griffin was choked into submission by him. After raping the college finance major, he strangled her to death after she regained consciousness. Later Worthington stole Melinda’s car keys, jewelry and credit cards – the latter which he used to buy drugs.
Michael Worthington was lodged in prison since 1995. In a last ditch attempt to block his execution, his attorneys had approached the US Supreme Court and the Missouri governor – both of whom denied clemency to Worthington citing the brutality of Worthington’s crime. Governor Jay Nixon termed Worthington’s actions “horrific,” and said that “there is no question about the brutality of this crime — or doubt of Michael Worthington’s guilt.” Michael’s attorneys cited the recent botched execution attempts and the lack of clarity over the lethal injection drugs being used to stall his execution.
After it became clear that his execution would go through, Michael Worthington spoke to the Associated Press via telephone in which he said he had accepted his fate.
“I figure I’ll wake up in a better place tomorrow. I’m just accepting of whatever’s going to happen because I have no choice. The courts don’t seem to care about what’s right or wrong anymore.”
The Associated Press also talked to Griffin’s 76-year-old parents. Her mother Carol Angelback said;
“It’s been 19 years and I feel like there’s going to be a finality.” Michael Worthington was also asked if he had anything to say to his victim’s parents to which he said referring to her mother;
“If my life would bring her peace and bring Mindy back, I’d be fine with that. But it won’t. It doesn’t bring peace or closure. She’s still going to have her broken heart.”
Michael Worthington’s execution is also the first execution the United States since the infamous botched July 24 execution of Arizona inmate Joseph Wood who gasped for air for close to two hours before he was pronounced dead. U.S. Senator John McCain had termed Wood’s execution “torture” after it was reported that the process took almost two hours during which the inmate gulped and convulsed as he died. Debate is still on whether the inmate was conscious and if he had suffered during the process.
[Image Via Missouri Department of Corrections]