10 January 1986 – James Terry Roach
Even Mother Teresa couldn’t save James Terry Roach from the electric chair.
American-born Roach was executed on this day in 1986 for raping and murdering 14-year-old Carlotta Hartness and killing her 17-year-old boyfriend Thomas Scofield Taylor.
In the minority
But the fact that Roach was just 17 when he committed the crimes meant that he was a juvenile and should not have been eligible for the death penalty. Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa and human rights activists all lobbied for him to be resentenced to no avail.
His poignant last words were ‘To my family and friends, there is only three words to say: I love you,’ before he gave the thumbs-up to flip the switch. He was put to death aged 25 and became the second person to be executed in South Carolina following the resurrection of the death sentence in 1976.
One of his accomplices was 22-year-old Joseph Carl Shaw who was also put to death just over a year previously.