Virginia carries out first execution since 2006

Virginia carries out first execution since 2006

The State of Virginia executed Kevin Green on Tuesday, in Virginia’s first execution in nearly two years and the third in the U.S. since the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of lethal injections in April. Hours before the execution, Governor Timothy M. Kaine declined to stop the state’s scheduled execution of the 31-year-old convicted murderer. 

Green’s execution was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday, but was delayed an hour when his attorneys tried to get a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order. His lawyers contended that a case argued last week challenging the constitutionality of Virginia’s lethal injection procedure should be decided before Green was executed. 

In June 2000, Green was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to death for the capital murder of Patricia L. Vaughan and the malicious wounding of Lawrence T. Vaughan in the commission of a robbery. Green shot the Vaughns and stole $9,000 from their convenience store in Brunswick County. Patricia Vaughan, 53, was shot four times and died at the scene. Lawrence Vaughan was shot twice by Green but survived.

Brunswick Police contend that Green confessed to the crime, telling them that he and his nephew took a bus to Northern Virginia and blew almost $9,000 on prostitutes, marijuana and clothes. His nephew, who was age 16 at the time, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Green went to trial and was found guilty of robbery and capital murder and sentenced to death in 2000. A year later, the Virginia Supreme Court ordered a new trial because of juror problems. Green was convicted again in 2001 and again sentenced to death.

The Supreme Court of Virginia found error in the jury selection process and remanded the case for a new trial on the capital murder charge.  In  2001, Green was again convicted of capital murder. 

In a sentencing proceeding, the jury sentenced Green to death for the capital murder.  The trial court imposed the sentence in January, 2002.   

“The trial, verdict, and sentence have been reviewed in detail by various state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Virginia, a United States Magistrate, a United States District Court Judge, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit,” said Gov. Kaine, who is an attorney.  

The United States Supreme Court also denied Greens petition for review. Having carefully reviewed the Petition for Clemency and judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was recommended by the jury, and then imposed and affirmed by the courts,” Kaine said. Accordingly, I decline to intervene. 

Green was the 99th person executed in Virginia since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Virginia ranks second only to Texas, which has put to death 405.