According to court documents Dalton Prejean, 17, was released from a youth facility after serving time for the murder of a cab driver. Seven months later Prejean was pulled over by Louisiana State Police Trooper Donald Cleveland on a traffic stop. When the Officer was searching Prejean brother Dalton would walk up behind him and fatally shot him
Dalton Prejean would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Dalton Prejean would be executed by way of the electric chair on May 18 1990
Dalton Prejean Photos
Dalton Prejean Case
Dalton Prejean, the mildly retarded convict sentenced to death for killing a state trooper, was electrocuted early Friday and became the third inmate executed in the United States in just over 24 hours.
Prejean, 30, was led into the execution chamber at Louisiana State Penitentiary shortly before midnight, strapped into the electric chair and declared dead by prison doctors at 12:17 a.m. CDT, prison officials said.
Before the execution, Prejean told witnesses that family members of slain State Trooper Donald Cleveland ‘say it wasn’t for the revenge, but it’s hard for me to see, to understand. I hope they’re happy.’
‘So, I forfeit my life,’ Prejean said. ‘I give my love to all. God bless.’
After the 3-minute speech, Prejean was led to the electric chair. His eyes were puffy and he appeared distressed. He relaxed after about a minute, but he grimaced as his head was strapped against the chair.
The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday denied Prejean’s application for a stay, clearing the way for his execution for the 1977 killing of the Louisiana state trooper.
Amnesty International and other rights groups campaigned vigorously against the execution because Prejean was 17 at the time of the killing and psychiatrists testified he was brain-damaged and had the IQ of a 13-year-old.
On Thursday, 13 protesters with Amnesty International and Pilgrimage for Life picketed on the steps of the State Capitol, chanting ‘We Shall Overcome’ and asking Gov. Buddy Roemer to spare Prejean’s life.
Roemer refused to halt Prejean’s execution, the nation’s third execution in just over 24 hours.
At 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Johnny Ray Anderson was put to death by injection in Texas for killing brother-in-law Ronald Gene Goode in a 1981 insurance scam.
About 21 minutes earlier, Leonard Laws died, also by injection, in Missouri for the 1980 shotgun murders of Clarence Williams, 83, and his wife, Lottie, 72, in Glencoe.
Prejean’s execution was the 128th in the United States since 1976, when the Supreme Court lifted its ban on capital punishment. He was the first person executed in Louisiana since Edward Byrne Jr. was put to death June 14, 1988
On behalf of 700 state troopers, he’s going to be executed,’ Roemer said Thursday. ‘He’s been given 10, 12 years of review, review, review, review. He’s guilty. He made a mistake this time — big time.’
Prejean was sentenced in 1978 for the July 2, 1977, murder of Cleveland, who was shot in the face and chest after stopping his car for a traffic violation near Lafayette. He has been on death row 12 years, longer than any other Louisiana inmate.
Prejean was 17 when he killed Cleveland as the officer held his brother against the car. Six months earlier, Prejean was discharged from a juvenile detention facility where he had been serving time for killing a cab driver during a robbery at the age of 14.
He escaped six previous execution dates, including two last fall when he obtained stays within 12 hours of his scheduled electrocution.
In their last arguments before the Supreme Court, defense attorneys said Prejean did not have a proper psychiatric evaluation and did not have effective counsel at his trial.
A psychiatric evaluation obtained by the defense showed Prejean had brain damage and the IQ of a 13-year-old, said attorney Sam Dalton.
Prejean arranged to spend his last day visiting with family members, said Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden John Whitley.
‘We’re expecting his mother and son, and some religious advisers,’ Whitley said. ‘Right now, he’s relatively calm.’
Prejean was moved to the cinderblock death cell on the sprawling prison grounds Thursday morning.
For his last meal, he ordered a seafood platter and an orange soda.
Prejean said his impending execution was a ‘political thing or a racist thing.’
‘He was a police officer,’ Prejean told the Shreveport Times. ‘They put it like he was more than a human being. A life is a life either way you look at it. They have made it more than that.’
He said his death would not ease the pain for Cleveland’s widow and children.
‘The reality still remains the same. They’re not going to feel any better,’ Prejean said. ‘All it boils down to is a revenge….’
A Baton Rouge newspaper reported receiving more than 350 letters from people around the world, asking Roemer to halt the execution on humanitarian grounds. Many of the letters said Prejean should not be executed because he was 17 at the time of Cleveland’s murder.
On Wednesday, a man who identified himself as a member of Amnesty International was twice herded out of the State Capitol by three state troopers, after demanding to discuss Prejean’s case with lawmakers