Triple killer put to death in first US video execution for 20 years

A MAN convicted of killing his parents and sister has been put to death after the courts allowed America’s first video-recorded execution in nearly 20 years.

Andrew DeYoung, 37, received a lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson, Georgia.

A videographer with a camera on a tripod stood about five feet away from the trolley inside the execution chamber.

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When asked to make a final statement, DeYoung said he was “sorry to everyone I hurt”.

He added: “I love you Dawn. Remember to smile.” His lawyer said Dawn was an old friend. He declined the offer of a final prayer.

Department of Corrections officials said he took a sedative pill offered to him beforehand.

DeYoung was convicted of killing his mother, father and 14-year-old sister Sarah when he was a student at Kennesaw State University. Prosecutors say he wanted to use his inheritance to start a business.

Lawyers for death row inmate Gregory Walker argued that recording DeYoung’s execution would provide critical evidence in his appeal about the effects of pentobarbital, which is the sedative now being used as the first step in Georgia’s injection procedure.

Walker’s lawyers want to show that pentobarbital does not adequately sedate the inmate and could cause pain and suffering.

In court filings, state prosecutors argued that having a videographer in the execution chamber would jeopardise the state’s carefully-scripted security. They also said creating a video came with the risk of it being distributed.

Fulton County Superior Court judge Bensonetta Lane allowed the recording to take place and that decision was upheld by Georgia Supreme Court. Governor Nathan Deal said it was up to the courts to decide the matter, though said he had “grave reservations” about videotaping executions.

Defence lawyers countered in a motion filed yesterday that the state corrections department had long allowed cameras to film parts of the prison.

The use of pentobarbital became an issue in Georgia after the execution of Roy Blankenship, the first Georgia prisoner put to death using the sedative.

Reporters witnessed Blankenship jerking his head several times during the procedure, looking at the injection sites in his arms and muttering after the pentobarbital was injected.

Death penalty critics said these unusual movements were proof that pentobarbital should not be used. The drug sedates the recipient before the injections of pancuronium bromide to paralyse and potassium chloride to stop the heart.