Friday, April 21, 2017

Lee's lawyer writes about executed man's last hours

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 2:23 PM

click to enlarge Lee Short, lawyer for Ledell Lee, leaving Judge Herb Wright's courtroom. Wright later ruled against a stay that would have allowed DNA testing of evidence from the murder of Debra Reese in an attempt to exonerate Lee.
  • Lee Short, lawyer for Ledell Lee, leaving Judge Herb Wright's courtroom. Wright later ruled against a stay that would have allowed DNA testing of evidence from the murder of Debra Reese in an attempt to exonerate Lee.

Lee Short, the lawyer for Ledell Lee, the man Arkansas put to death just before midnight last night, has posted on Facebook the following letter of thanks for personal support and a bit about Lee's last hours, distributing his possessions and talking to family.

I first want to say how truly thankful I am for the level of personal support I've received during these trying times from friends, defense and prosecuting attorneys, judges, bailiffs, ADC employees, former teachers, clerks, and others who sympathize with the difficulty of the situation regardless of personal beliefs. I can't even begin to name all the names nor do I even know them all.

Second, the news correctly indicated that Ledell chose not to make a statement in the execution chamber. However, he said and did plenty in the hours leading up to it. From 430 pm until 5 pm I briefed him on the legal issues at the various courts. From 5 to 615 I listened to him make phone calls to his family members (mother, brothers, and daughters) telling them to stay strong and he would see them again one day. From 615 to 630 he prayed with the chaplain he has known and loved for over 20 years. That chaplain remained by his side throughout the evening. They continually reassured one another that because they were gathered in the name of the Father, He was there. At 630 he frantically began dividing his belongings, which fit in a cardboard box. He gave his potato chips to Stacey Johnson who continued to say uplifting messages to Ledell throughout the night. Ledell willed away his property, which included saltines, cups, and even his condiments.  That moment was more than I could take. As tears rolled down my cheeks, there was a friendly face who offered me a Dr. Pepper and said no more. For the next few hours we talked about everything under the sun - music, tv, his nickname "skip", and other death row inmates he enjoyed the company of. Once the mood became optimistic after several stays from various courts, we watched Dawn Scott, 2 1/2 men, and 2 broke girls. We laughed all the way through. Ultimately, at about 1120 when things changed, I was immediately moved out of the room without a chance to say goodbye. RIP Ledell. I pray for your family today, tomorrow, and the future.

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