Ex-soldier who raped and murdered nurse he believed was a witch executed after 16 years
An ex-soldier who raped and murdered a nurse he was convinced was a witch has been executed after 16 years on death row.
William LeCroy was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday evening, the sixth federal execution since July after a lengthy hiatus in capital punishment at a national level.
The execution took place in Terre Haute, Indiana and came shortly after the US Supreme Court denied an 11th-hour petition.
It sought a stay until LeCroy's principal lawyer - who suffers from a chronic health condition - could travel safely without fear of contracting Covid-19.
As part of their plea, his lawyers also argued the death of LeCroy's brother in 2010 should be taken into account for the suffering of LeCroy's family.
LeCroy was convicted and sentenced to death in Georgia in 2004 for the carjacking, rape and murder of Joann Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, after breaking into her home.
He thought his victim had "cast a spell on him" after becoming "obsessed with witchcraft" on being dismissed from the army for going AWOL.
The killer had broken into her home while she was out shopping in October 2001.
As she entered, he shot at her, before raping her, and stabbing her in the back.
LeCroy later told investigators he mistakenly believed Joann was his former babysitter who he claimed had sexually abused him as a child.
He hoped killing her would reverse a "hex" put on him, reports the New York Post.
He later said after killing her he realised this was not true.
LeCroy was caught two days later in Joann's vehicle at the US-Canadian border with notes scribbled on the back of a torn map, according to prosecutors.
"Please, please, please forgive me Joanne," read one note by LeCroy, who misspelled the victim's name.
"You were an angel and I killed you. Now I have to live with that and I can never go home. I am a vagabond and doomed to hell."
His execution marked the sixth death sentence the US government has carried out during the past three months.
It is more than the total number of federal executions carried out under all of President Donald Trump's White House predecessors combined since 1963.
Another execution is planned for Thursday.
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