Indeed his execution was so controversial that the Arkansas board voting on whether to commute his sentence were to face ‘their closest vote on record’ – the penalty ended up being just one vote away from being overturned, according to Michael Kroll from the Death Penalty Information Center.
Fairchild, along with his brother, had been caught in a car of a recent victim. This victim was 22-year-old Marjorie ‘Greta’ Mason, who had been raped, robbed and shot twice in the head.
Chomping at his bits
A number of sources state categorically that a confession was coerced out of Fairchild. He is said to have been tortured into a confession – on his arrest a dog was unleashed, who promptly proceeded to tear chunks out of the beleaguered suspect.
Following a spell in hospital to recover from his wounds and once Fairchild was back in custody, the sheriff is said to have set upon him with the barrel of a shotgun, while Major Larry Dill placed a well-aimed boot in the poor bloke’s stomach.
But on what evidence did they accuse him? Semen proved the suspect was blood type ‘O’, but Fairchild was an ‘A’ type. It appears that maybe Fairchild was an easy target – he was black, mentally retarded and unable to write.
He’d confessed to being part of the attack, but not to the actual killing. But that appeared to be enough to fit him up with the murder.
The 41-year old opted for the lethal injection over the electrifying alternative, yet the controversy failed to die with him.