Grayson executed for 1980 murder

Published 6:33 am Tuesday, July 31, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
After more than 25 years of sitting on Alabama's death row and numerous appeals, Darrell Grayson was executed by lethal injection Thursday evening at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.
Grayson had been on death row for 27 years after being convicted of capital murder for the Dec. 24, 1980 slaying of Annie Laura Orr, an 86-year-old widow from Montevallo. Prior to his execution, Grayson filed an appeal challenging Alabama's method of execution, which added to the numerous appeals he had filed during his almost three decades in prison. That appeal, along with others, was denied.
"The state did carry out the lawful execution of Darrell Grayson," public information manager Brian Corbett said Friday morning. "The procedure was carried out in a routine manner."
Gov. Bob Riley issued a statement Thursday morning prior to Grayson's execution focusing more on the victim in the crime, reminding opposition of the death of Orr, who was brutally murdered by Grayson and raped by Grayson's co-defendant, Victor Kennedy, who was executed in 1999.
"There has been much attention focused on the convicted killer, but seemingly ignored has been consideration of his victim, Mrs. Annie Laura Orr," Riley said. "She was a defenseless 86-year-old woman who lived alone and died a horrifying death almost 27 years ago. The killer's own numerous confessions, his own trial testimony where he himself admitted guilt and the overwhelming physical evidence left a jury no doubt he perpetrated a cruel and monstrous crime upon a helpless elderly woman."
Riley added that Grayson's many appeals contradicted his testimony and the evidence provided in the case.
"Despite his multiple confessions and the physical evidence, the convicted killer filed several appeals after his conviction," Riley said. "All were denied by state and federal courts. His convictions of burglary and murder have been upheld at each level of the appellate process. No new evidence has come to light that would warrant either a reprieve or a commutation. DNA testing would neither prove nor disprove this killer's guilt. He was convicted of burglary and murder, not rape and murder, so legally DNA testing would not exonerate him even if there is no DNA evidence that he raped Mrs. Orr. Non-DNA evidence of the convicted murderer's guilt, however, is abundant."
At sentencing, the trial court found two aggravating circumstances, according to Corbett. First, the crime was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of a rape, robbery and burglary. Secondly, the crime was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel.
The trial court also found two statutory mitigating circumstances. First, that Grayson was 19 years old at the time of the offense. Secondly, that Grayson lacked a prior history of significant criminal activity. The court determined that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances and, as such, law required the sentence of death.
The aggravated nature of the crime was described by the Court of Appeals as having been committed by "wild raving dogs of hell."
Grayson was executed at 6 p.m. and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

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