By FRANK GREEN AND JAMIE C. RUFF, TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITERS
Virginia's 100th execution in modern times was carried out last night as Robert Stacy Yarbrough died by injection for the 1997 slaying of a country store owner.
Yarbrough, 30, was pronounced dead at the Greensville Correctional Center at 9:28 p.m. Asked if he had any last words, he said, "Tell my kids I love them. Let's get it over with. Make people happy," according to a prison spokesman. (...)
The execution took longer than normal. The curtain was closed at 9 p.m., blocking the view of witnesses, as the IV lines were inserted into his arms, a procedure that is usually performed in just a few minutes. Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said there was difficulty placing one of the IV lines. The curtain reopened at 9:17 p.m. and Yarbrough gave his last statement, and then the signal was given to start the chemicals.
According to court papers, it takes an average of 4½ minutes for an inmate to die after the chemicals start flowing. But in Yarbrough's case, the process appeared to take about 10 minutes.
Virginia is the second state to execute 100 people since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. Texas, with 406 executions, leads the country.
The two states account for nearly half of all executions carried out across the U.S. since 1976. Virginia's 100th was marked by about 30 protesters holding a vigil in a field in front of the rural prison last night. At 9 p.m., the scheduled execution time, the protesters took turns ringing a bell for each person executed in Virginia. (...)
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