Mississippi executes man for 1995 brutal murder

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2012 7:58 PM
Mississippi executes man for 1995 brutal murder

By Robbie Ward

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Reuters) - A Mississippi man convicted of brutally murdering a convenience store clerk in 1995 was put to death by lethal injection on Thursday, the second execution in the state this week.

William "Jerry" J. Mitchell, 61, sexually assaulted and mutilated Patty Milliken after she disappeared from her job in Biloxi toward the end of her shift in November 1995, jurors found.

Mitchell, who at the time of Milliken's death was on parole for a previous murder conviction, was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m. local time Thursday at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, said corrections spokeswoman Tara Booth.

His was the third execution this year in Mississippi and the eleventh in the nation.

According to records, Mitchell visited Milliken, 38, at work three times on the day she disappeared. A co-worker who last saw Milliken go outside to smoke a cigarette with Mitchell called police when she didn't return.

Police found Mitchell's phone number in Milliken's purse and went to his home. Mitchell fled but was arrested after a car chase.

Milliken's body was found under a bridge. She had been beaten, strangled, sexually assaulted, crushed by a car and mutilated, court records show.

Testimony during the trial indicated that she was still alive when the car ran over her. Tire tracks at the crime scene matched three of the four tires on Mitchell's car, and police also found blood and hair on and under his car.

Corrections officials said Thursday that Mitchell ate little of his requested last meal, which included a big plate of fried shrimp and oysters, a strawberry milkshake, a cup of ranch dressing, two fried chicken breasts and a Coke.

On Tuesday, ?Larry Matthew "Matt" Puckett was executed in Mississippi for a 1995 murder and sexual assault of his former employer's wife.

(Editing By Colleen Jenkins and Paul Thomasch)