Las Vegas Sun

March 25, 2019

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Eleven men executed in Nevada since 1979

If convicted killer and rapist Robert Lee McConnell is executed June 9, he'll become the 12th person to die in Nevada following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the 1970s that cleared the way for capital punishment to resume in this country.

Ten of the 11 executed in Nevada since the ruling were, like McConnell, volunteers who declined to file further appeals that would have kept them alive.

Condemned inmates who died at Nevada State Prison in Carson City since the ruling include:

1979-Jesse Walter Bishop, 46, was executed by lethal gas Oct. 22, 1979, for killing a newly married man in the El Morocco hotel-casino in Las Vegas during a robbery attempt. Bishop, the last man to die by gas in Nevada, refused all appeals and insisted that he be executed.

1985-Carroll Cole, 47, was executed Dec. 6, 1985, for killing Marie Cushman in Las Vegas. Cole was the first to die by injection and, like Bishop, wanted to be executed. He also was convicted of killing four other women, and claimed to have killed more than a dozen women.

1989-William Thompson, 51, was executed by injection June 19, 1989, for killing a transient in Reno. Thompson, a career criminal, also had two other murder convictions, and claimed to have killed three other men. He wouldn't appeal, saying his execution would be "payment to everyone I've ever hurt."

1989-Four days after Thompson's execution, Sean Flanagan, 27, was executed by injection on June 23, 1989, for killing two men in Las Vegas. Flanagan said he thought he could do "some good" by killing homosexuals. He asked to die.

1990-Thomas Baal, 26, was executed by injection June 3, 1990, for killing a bus driver during a Las Vegas robbery. Baal also wanted to die and resisted efforts by his family to appeal his sentence.

1996-Richard Moran, 42, was executed by injection March 31, 1996, for two killings in a Las Vegas bar in 1984 while on a drug and alcohol binge. Moran was the only one of the inmates executed since the mid-1970s who didn't oppose legal efforts to keep him alive - but said he was ready to die.

1998-Richard Abeyta, 44, was executed by injection Oct. 5, 1998, for killing his sleeping ex-girlfriend by shooting her twice in the head while ransacking her home for drugs. He opposed any 11th-hour legal efforts to stop his execution.

1999-Alvaro Calambro, 25, was executed by injection April 5, 1999, for the January 1994 murders of Peggy Crawford, who had a tire iron driven through her skull, and Keith Christopher, whose head was crushed by a hammer. Representatives of Calambro's native Philippines tried to stop the execution of the Filipino national, but he opposed any appeals.

2001-Sebastian Bridges, 37, was executed by injection April 21, 2001, for killing Hunter Blatchford in the desert outside Las Vegas in October 1997. Blatchford had been romantically involved with Bridges' estranged wife, Laurie. Bridges refused to file appeals, but just before his lethal injections were administered he began sobbing and screamed, "I killed nobody, nobody," and "You want to kill me like a dog."

2004-Lawrence Colwell Jr., 35, was executed by injection March 26, 2004, for the 1994 strangling of an elderly tourist in Las Vegas. Colwell refused to seek a stay from a federal judge who was willing to grant one - if Colwell asked. He showed no emotion as he was led into the execution chamber. He briefly glanced at the 20 witnesses in a viewing area and then closed his eyes and never reopened them.

2004-Terry Jess Dennis, 57, was executed Aug. 12, 2004, for strangling a woman in a Reno motel room in 1999. Dennis expressed no remorse and had no other last words. Dennis, who had attempted suicide numerous times over the years, could have appealed but told a judge he'd rather die "than continue to live and be a doddering old man in prison."