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Wednesday, December 10, 1997
Inmate with death sentences in three states
put to death.
By MICHAEL GRACZYK / Associated Press Writer
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- Michael Lee Lockhart, an Ohio man
who had said for years that he wanted to die, was put to death
by prison officials Tuesday night for killing a Beaumont police
officer almost 10 years ago.
Just before the lethal drugs were administered, Lockhart looked
through a window to five family members of his murder victims
and asked for their forgiveness.
"I am deeply sorry. It is my hope my death will give you
some kind of comfort," he said. Then, he expressed love and
thanks to his friends and family and also thanked prison officials
whom he said had treated him kindly.
"I am really at peace," he said before closing his
eyes. As the drugs took effect, he gasped about three times, then
Seven minutes later, at 6:24 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
As witnesses emerged from the prison, a crowd of some 100 Beaumont
police officers standing down the street erupted in cheers, applause
Lockhart, 37, became the 37th man to die by lethal injection
in the state's death chamber in 1997, adding to the state's record
year for executions. He had been been under death penalties in
Texas, Indiana and Florida has said for years he wanted to die.
The execution came hours after the U.S. Supreme Court denied
11th-hour requests for a reprieve.
The drifter from Toledo, Ohio, once claimed to have killed
more than two dozen people around the country. He acknowledged
three murders during a five-month spree that began in mid-October
1987 with the torture and mutilation of a 16-year-old girl, Windy
Gallagher, at her home in Griffith, Ind.
Three months later, his next victim was Jennifer Colhouer,
14, of Land O'Lakes, Fla.
In both cases, the girls were raped and savagely stabbed, their
mutilated bodies discovered in their homes by a family member.
Supporting himself with robberies and traveling the country
in fancy stolen sports cars, Lockhart on March 22, 1988, gunned
down Paul Hulsey Jr. The Beaumont police officer had spotted Lockhart
speeding through the southeast Texas city in a stolen red Corvette,
then tracked him to a motel where he was spending the night.
Hulsey was trying to arrest Lockhart when he was shot three
times with a .357-caliber Magnum pistol. He became the first Beaumont
officer to die in the line of duty in 68 years.
"I don't feel one ounce of revenge," Hulsey's father,
Paul Sr., said after watching the execution. "I feel relief.
But it will never bring back our son."
"I don't have to worry about him getting out," said
April Gallagher, whose daughter was killed by Lockhart, and who
came from Indiana to see Lockhart die. "Seeing this is to
know Michael Lockhart will never be able to do that again."
"There's some relief," Thomas Colhouer, who also
lost a daughter to Lockhart, said after emerging from the death
chamber. "We can go ahead and put back our lives but it will
never be the same. For 10 years my family has suffered."
A Texas jury found Lockhart guilty of capital murder and gave
him the first death sentence. An Indiana jury followed with its
decision several months later and Lockhart pleaded guilty in the
Florida case. Since the Texas conviction came first, Texas had
priority in executing him.
"I am guilty for those three cases and take full responsibility
for those cases," Lockhart said last week. "I wish I
could give my life in place of theirs. I have been praying for
this since 1988.
"I don't think I could have stopped (killing). I was fortunate
to get caught."
A psychologist who testified at Lockhart's 1988 Texas trial,
which was moved from Beaumont to San Antonio because of publicity,
said Lockhart was haunted by homosexual impulses, that he had
been molested by a family friend and neighbor at the age of 5
or 6 and also was the victim of incest from the time he was 9
until he was 12. The experiences, the psychologist said, caused
him to become violent with younger women and enraged with men
if he was cornered, like when Hulsey tried to arrest him.
A similar situation occurred at his Texas trial. Ten days after
jury selection began, Lockhart bolted from deputies during a lunch
break and jumped through a third-floor courthouse window. He didn't
get far, suffering a broken bone in the fall.
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