On Wednesday, December 14, a man was executed under the death penalty in Mississippi. Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. had been awaiting his death sentence since 2001 when he pleaded guilty to murder.
Loden raped and assaulted a 16-year-old girl over 20 years ago in a horrific crime that devastated her family and the nation.
Loden’s Horrific Crime
At the time, Gray was working at her uncle’s restaurant. She was a waitress and enjoyed her summer work. As soon as she finished her job, it was already night; she got on the road to return home, but then something bad happened.
She got a flat tire and had to stop and ask for help. Loden showed up and said he was a Marine. He offered to help by taking her to his apartment, but she said she didn’t want to go out with him.
Loden said he got angry and forced her into his van. That night, Loden spent four hours sexually assaulting her; in the end, he killed her.
The next day, Loden was found on the side of the road. He was lying down and on his chest, it was written “I’m sorry”, and on his wrists, there were some laceration marks where he’d cut himself.
Farris is scheduled to go to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman to witness the execution by lethal injection of the man who pleaded guilty to raping and killing her daughter. Thomas Edwin Loden Jr., now 58, has been on death row 21 years. https://t.co/QvYsA5KFoF pic.twitter.com/cYhldAuc2o
— MSPublicBroadcasting (@MPBOnline) December 12, 2022
Loden Walks To His Death
Officers brought Loden to the execution. He was dressed in a red jumpsuit, typical of the prisoners. Soon, the officers put him on a stretcher, tied his whole body with brown straps, and finally covered his body with a white sheet.
Loden was executed early Wednesday night, more precisely at 6:12 p.m. He died at the age of 58, in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. Heather Burton, the coroner, applied a lethal injection.
Wanda Farris, Gray’s mother, made sure to be present and see the execution of the criminal who took her daughter’s life.
When the coroner approached to give the lethal injection, Loden said he was sorry and was truly sorry for his horrible crime.
He said all this time he was on death row, he was trying to do a good deed to soften the sadness of robbing the life of the innocent young woman he’d slain.
Loden also said the words coming out of his mouth at that time were not able to erase all the harm he caused, but he still wanted to say them anyway.
His last words were Aishitemasu. “I love you” in Japanese. Farris watched everything as the monster who took her daughter’s life left this world.
Thomas Edwin Loden Jr was pronounced dead at 6.12pm local time on Wednesday (Picture: AP)
A man who carved ‘I’m sorry’ on his chest after raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl has been executed.
Thomas Edwin Loden Jr was put to death by lethal injection at 6.12pm… pic.twitter.com/ZrROlUAmMR
— NEWS UPDATE (@GetNewsUpdates) December 15, 2022
The Bottom Line
At the moment, 36 inmates are awaiting his execution on death row in Mississippi.
Loden’s execution sparked a demonstration in front of the state Capitol as well, where a group opposing the death penalty caught the attention of the press.