COLUMBIA, S.C. — James Terry Roach was executed Friday for two murders he committed at the age of 17, despite pleas for clemency by Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter and other international figures.
"I pray that my fate will someday save another kid that ends up on the wrong side of the tracks," Roach, 25, said in his final statement after being strapped in the state's electric chair at 5 a.m.
Roach, the first juvenile offender to be executed involuntarily since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976, seemed comforted by assurances that his case had focused attention on the issue of capital punishment for juvenile crimes, said his attorney, David Bruck.
"I told him that the tremendous attention the last few days that suddenly and at last has been paid to his case would help (others like him), and he came back to that and asked several times if . . . I really thought that was true," Bruck said. "He seemed to draw some comfort when we told him that we really did think that."