Mother of Death Row Inmate's Victim Details Her Experience on Execution Night

KNWA - (via KARK)

As the first two of seven Arkansas death row inmates awaited their fate Monday night in separate cells in separate prison units, their victims' families sat in silence together in a room near the death chamber.

A TV screen would allow them to witness the final moments of their loved ones' killers, Bruce Ward and Don Davis, the state's first executions in more than a decade. 

"We didn't talk to each other," said Marilyn Doss, the mother of Ward's victim, Becky Doss.

 Instead, Doss talked to her daughter.

"Saying stuff like, 'Becky, it's gonna be done,'" she said.

On Monday morning, the fates of both Ward and Davis hung in legal limbo. Doss decided at the last minute to drive the 45 minutes from Warren to Grady with her sister.

"Just in case of that one percent," she said. "I'd hate it if I wasn't there and it happened. I would really hate it."

As they made their way along the barbed wire fence, several protesters caught their eye.

"I looked outside at them, 'Thou shall not kill.' I said they need to turn those signs to him [Ward], not to us," Doss said.

In the summer of 1989, 18-year-old Becky was working the overnight shift at a Little Rock gas station. On August 11, 32-year-old Ward raped and strangled her in the men's bathroom. Ward was sentenced to death a year later. When it became clear he would not be executed Monday night, Doss couldn't help but cry.

"We've had so many disappointments, so many," she said. "So I guess this is one more. You just hope and they let you down. They keep coming up with something else. He'll get it one day, I guess, but I won't see it."

When asked why, she said, "I just don't feel like I'll be around because of the way the law is."

After 28 years without her daughter or justice, Doss said she has lost all faith in the justice system, calling it broken.

"I just can't understand their reasoning," she said. "I just wish they'd see he's had enough time, 28 years more than she's had."

Ward's lawyers argue he's a diagnosed schizophrenic, rendering him unfit for execution.

"He's the reason he's there," Doss said. "It's his fault."

Doss left Cummins the same way she came, talking to her daughter.

"I said, 'Becky, it didn't happen again. I'm so sorry,'" she said. "It's just not right. It's like she never existed."

The governor's spokesman said the process starts over for both Ward and Davis, meaning they could not be executed before one of the lethal injection drug expires at the end of the month.


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