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2 Child Killers Executed in N.M., Ga.

November 07, 2001|From Associated Press

Two convicted child killers were put to death by lethal injection Tuesday night in New Mexico and Georgia. For New Mexico, it was the first execution since 1960.

Terry Clark, who was executed in Santa Fe, N.M., never denied killing 9-year-old Dena Lynn Gore, who was found raped and shot to death in 1986 on the ranch where he worked, but never said why.

In Jackson, Ga., Jose Martinez High was put to death for killing an 11-year-old boy during a 1976 gas station robbery.

Clark, against the wishes of his lawyers, who said he was mentally ill, decided to drop appeals last March and asked a judge to go ahead with his execution.

At trial, Clark followed his lawyers' advice and pleaded guilty in hopes that then-Gov. Toney Anaya would commute his pending death sentence. Anaya, an opponent of capital punishment, had just emptied death row, commuting all five inmates' sentences to life imprisonment. But Anaya's term ran out before Clark was sentenced.

In August, District Judge David Bonem found Clark competent to decide on his execution and set the date for Tuesday.

"I will not allow myself, my family and the victim's family to be put through any more," Clark wrote to Bonem.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a challenge Tuesday from lawyers who questioned Clark's competence.

In Santa Fe, several hundred people opposed to the death penalty held a candlelight protest.

The last execution in New Mexico was on Jan. 8, 1960, when David Nelson became the only person to die in the state's gas chamber.

Before High, 45, was executed at the state prison in Jackson, south of Atlanta, he denied killing Bonnie Bulloch.

"I did not kill that little boy," he said. "I could not hurt a child."

According to court papers, High taunted the boy, saying, "Are you ready to die?" as the youngster begged for his life during the robbery in Taliaferro County.

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