19 April 2000 – Robert Glen Coe
Of course, Robert Glen Coe’s crime was not that simple. He’d been found guilty of raping then killing a child who’d been in the world just eight years.
In God we trust
Cary Anne Medlin was abducted on Labour Day in 1979 as she rode her bike. Coe assaulted her and as he wrapped up his business, Medlin poignantly said ‘Jesus loves you’. And it was those fateful words that he said prompted him to kill the eight-year-old.
First he tried to strangle her and when that failed he took out a pocket knife and stabbed her in the neck. She ultimately bled to death from the injury. He then left her body and fled the scene, but the authorities picked him up just three days later.
Coe who believed in reincarnation, chose the needle over Old Sparky after he was sentenced in 1981. The murderer then spent the best part of 20 years on death row awaiting his fate.
And yet, his execution nearly didn’t take place. The first hiccough was when the court overturned his conviction deeming that the jury had not been briefed properly and that the trial was flawed. But the US Supreme Court promptly over-ruled them. Then the night before the final execution date, Coe’s lawyers objected saying that health care professionals needed to attend, otherwise the jail would be in violation of the Hippocratic Oath.
The jail responded and he was finally given a lethal injection just four days after his 44th birthday.
Medlin’s mother saw the execution live in a final act of closure. She’d managed to convince the prison authorities to convert a special room so she could view the execution live – it wasn’t enough for the grieving mother to see the execution via a televised link.