Virginia inmate Robert Gleason dies by electric chair

Robert Gleason Jr is shown in this March 2011 handout photo supplied by Virginia Department of Corrections Robert Gleason Jr murdered a second prisoner while waiting sentencing for killing the first

Related Stories

The US state of Virginia has used the electric chair to put to death a man who killed two fellow prisoners to speed up his own execution.

Robert Gleason, 42, was the first Virginia inmate to choose electrocution over lethal injection since March 2010.

The former tattoo artist pleaded guilty to a 2007 murder and subsequently killed two fellow prisoners, while waiving all his rights to an appeal.

Virginia's governor declined to intervene in the case.

Authorities pronounced Gleason dead at 21:08 on Wednesday (02:08 GMT on Thursday) at the Greensville Correctional Center in the town of Jarratt.

'Urine-soaked sponge'

Gleason's lawyers had argued he had a long history of mental illness and his condition had deteriorated during a year in solitary confinement.

Start Quote

The only way to stop me is put me on death row”

End Quote Robert Gleason

Two other evaluations deemed him capable of making his own decisions.

He strangled his cellmate, 63-year-old Harvey Watson, in 2009, after tricking him into allowing his hands to be tied by pretending it was part of an escape plot.

According to court records, Gleason taunted his victim by stuffing a urine-soaked sponge into his mouth before killing him.

While awaiting sentencing, he strangled 26-year-old Aaron Cooper.

Gleason said that he asked Cooper to try on a "religious necklace" through a wire fencing separating them.

He had said in multiple interviews that he had waived the appeals process because he knew he would kill again if he was not executed.

"Someone needs to stop it," he told the Associated Press at the time of the first inmate murder. "The only way to stop me is put me on death row."

He repeated threats to murder again in court on numerous occasions.

Governor Bob McDonnell said in a statement on Friday: "Gleason has expressed no remorse for these horrific murders.

"He has been found competent by the appropriate courts to make all of these decisions."

Only 157 death-row electrocutions have taken place out of 1,320 executions since the US death penalty was reinstated in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.