Robert Yarbrough Executed For Cyril Hamby Murder

Robert Yarbrough was executed by the State of Virginia for the murder of Cyril Hambry

According to court documents eighteen year old Robert Yarbrough would rob a grocery store and in the process murder the owner Cyril Hambry with a pocket knife

Robert Yarbrough would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Robert Yarbrough would be executed by lethal injection on June 25 2008

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When Was Robert Yarbrough Executed

Robert Yarbrough was executed on June 25 2008

Robert Yarbrough Case

Virginia’s 100th execution in modern times was carried out last night as Robert Stacy Yarbrough died by injection for the 1997 slaying of a country store owner. Yarbrough, 30, was pronounced dead at the Greensville Correctional Center at 9:28 p.m. Asked if he had any last words, he said, “Tell my kids I love them. Let’s get it over with. Make people happy,” according to a prison spokesman.

He was sentenced to die for the May 8, 1997, capital murder of Cyril H. Hamby, 77. Hamby was tied up and nearly decapitated with a knife during a robbery of the small Mecklenburg County business he operated for more than 50 years.

Yarbrough appeared calm and looked down toward the gurney as he was led into the execution chamber. He seemed to drift into sleep as the first of three chemicals were administered. The execution took longer than normal. The curtain was closed at 9 p.m., blocking the view of witnesses, as the IV lines were inserted into his arms, a procedure that is usually performed in just a few minutes. Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said there was difficulty placing one of the IV lines. The curtain reopened at 9:17 p.m. and Yarbrough gave his last statement, and then the signal was given to start the chemicals. According to court papers, it takes an average of 4½ minutes for an inmate to die after the chemicals start flowing. But in Yarbrough’s case, the process appeared to take about 10 minutes.

Virginia is the second state to execute 100 people since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. Texas, with 406 executions, leads the country. The two states account for nearly half of all executions carried out across the U.S. since 1976. Virginia’s 100th was marked by about 30 protesters holding a vigil in a field in front of the rural prison last night. At 9 p.m., the scheduled execution time, the protesters took turns ringing a bell for each person executed in Virginia.

Anne Gray, a Richmond Quaker, said she comes every time protesters try to fill the field in front of the prison. She was last there about two years ago. She said she doesn’t know why more people didn’t come last night. “It’s not as many as I expected, and it’s not as many as we’ve had before, but more than we usually have.”

The first person executed in Virginia after the death penalty resumed was Frank J. Coppola, a former altar boy and Portsmouth police officer who beat a bound woman to death during a 1978 burglary of her Newport News home. Coppola was pronounced dead Aug. 10, 1982, at 11:27 p.m., ushering in the state’s modern era of capital punishment. Since Jan. 1, 1995, when lethal injection became an option, Yarbrough was the 72nd condemned man in Virginia to have selected injection. Just four have chosen the electric chair.

Yarbrough was 18 when he and a friend, Dominic Rainey, 17, robbed Hamby’s store, which was near their homes. After tying up Hamby and kicking him in the head, Yarbrough used a pocketknife to cut around Hamby’s neck. The two fled with cash, beer, wine and cigarettes. They were caught days later. Rainey was charged with first degree murder in exchange for testifying against Yarbrough. In addition to Rainey’s testimony, forensic evidence, including DNA, linked Yarbrough to the crime.

His lawyers contended that a black juror was improperly stricken from the second jury that sentenced Yarbrough to death and that his trial lawyer failed to request the help of a DNA expert or do an adequate job in researching Yarbrough’s troubled childhood. A clemency petition was filed with Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and an appeal for a stay of execution with the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices denied the appeal yesterday evening. Then Kaine declined to intervene, saying he found no compelling reason to set aside the sentence.

Traylor said that immediate family members of Hamby witnessed the execution. Authorities said that Yarbrough visited with his mother and great aunt for two hours yesterday morning.

Virginia had not executed anyone since 2006 until last month, when Kevin Green died by injection for a 1998 murder in Brunswick County.

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