Two lethal injection executions took place on Thursday night in the southern United States, where governors from two neighboring states refused to pardon the convicts.
Michael Samra, 41, was executed in Alabama 22 years after participating in a quadruple murder, authorities said.
Four minutes later, Donnie Edward Johnson, 68, died in Tennessee, where he killed his wife 35 years ago.
In 1997, 19-year-old Michael Samra, who had “very limited intelligence” according to court documents, had participated in a murderous trip with a friend.
He was angry at his father for refusing to lend him a van and convinced Michael Samra to help him take revenge.
The two young men had shot dead the father and his girlfriend, before slaughtering her two daughters, six and seven years old.
They had both been sentenced to death.
But Michael Samra’s 16-year-old friend, at the time, had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, after the Supreme Court banned the death penalty for minors.
Michael Samra’s lawyers had seized the temple of American law to extend his reasoning to young people under 21 years old. They had, however, been denied on Tuesday.
On the same grounds, they had asked the Republican governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, to spare Michael Samra.
Kay Ivey, who enacted a law banning abortions in his state on Wednesday, refused and then hailed the execution. It sends, according to her, “the signal that Alabama does not tolerate any murderous act of any kind whatsoever.
In neighboring Tennessee, Republican Gov. Bill Lee also refused to pardon Donnie Edward Johnson despite support from several religious leaders.
In 1984, he had smothered his wife, pushing a plastic bag in her throat. “I was not a man, but a monster,” he wrote in a statement released by his lawyers.
Since then, he assured, religion had transformed him. Believer, he became a representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church among fellow inmates. He had therefore asked for the clemency of the governor in the name of his “redemption”.
The head of his church, as well as Catholic bishops, had supported his request, as had the daughter of his victim.
Bill Lee refused his request, he died after singing and said, “I put my life in your hands. Your will be done. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen, “local media reported.
Since the beginning of the year, the United States has carried out seven executions.