Mississippi Executes Man for R@ping, M’ur’d’e’r’ing 16 Year Old Girl Who ‘Loved Life’
The man who raped and killed a teenage girl in 2000 was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. died around 6:00 p.m. after having been on death row since 2001, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Loden had pleaded guilty to capital murder, rape, and four counts of sexual battery against 16-year-old Leesa Marie Gray who worked as a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant.
“Earlier this month, a federal judge declined to block Mississippi from carrying out the execution amid a pending lawsuit from Loden and four Mississippi death row inmates over the state’s lethal injection protocol. Mississippi’s most recent execution was in November 2021,” the article said.
In a social media post Wednesday, John Weddle of the First Circuit District Attorney’s Office said, “Our office expresses sincere thanks to all those involved in solving and prosecuting this case and sincere heartfelt sympathy for Leesa’s family and friends.”
“I’ve spoken to Wanda Farris, Leesa’s mother, on multiple occasions, as well as friends of Leesa. She was, by every account, a happy and kind daughter and friend who was and still is loved by many,” the post continued:
In the moments before his death, Loden said he was “deeply remorseful” for his actions and he knew his words could not erase the damage, according to reporter Courtney Ann Jackson.“For the last 20 years, I’ve tried to do a good deed every single day to make up for the life I took from this world. If nothing else, I hope you get peace and closure,” he added.
When Gray left work after dark on June 22, 2000, her car got a flat tire on a rural road. Loden, who was a Marine Corps recruiter, saw her, stopped, and talked with her about the flat tire, saying not to worry because he was a Marine and they took care of such things.
However, the man grew angry when young woman allegedly said she would never want to be a Marine, he later recalled. After ordering her to get into his van, he sexually assaulted her for several hours then strangled and suffocated her, he told authorities.
“Court records show that on the afternoon of June 23, 2000, ‘Loden was discovered lying by the side of a road with the words ‘I’m sorry’ carved into his chest and apparent self-inflicted lacerations on his wrists,’” the AP article said.Now, the young woman’s mother, Wanda Farris, remembers her smile and said she “loved life and she was a good Christian girl,” the outlet reported Monday.
Farris explained she forgave her child’s killer a long time ago but hopes the execution will help her move forward in life, although she will never forget what happened.“You just have this hanging over your head all these years,” she commented. “Leesa is always going to be in my heart and my mind.”