Mississippi set to execute man for 1995 brutal murder

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2012 10:53 AM
Mississippi set to execute man for 1995 brutal murder

By Robbie Ward

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Reuters) - A Mississippi man convicted of brutally murdering a convenience store clerk in 1995 is scheduled to be 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.

At the time, Mitchell had been released on parole for less than a year for a murder conviction two decades earlier.

Mitchell's execution is set for 6 p.m. local time at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. If carried out, it will be the third execution this year in Mississippi and the eleventh in the nation.

According to records, Mitchell visited Milliken 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.

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)