iOS app Android app

Darryl Durr Dead: Ohio Rapist Who Claimed Drug Allergy Executed

MATT LEINGANG   04/20/10 07:56 PM ET   AP

Darryl Durr Dead

LUCASVILLE, Ohio — A serial rapist who strangled a 16-year-old girl in 1988 and who had argued he might be violently allergic to the state's execution drug was put to death Tuesday with no apparent complications.

As the lethal injection began, Darryl Durr clenched his fists, grimaced and held his head up for about 10 seconds before gently putting it down. It wasn't clear if he was in pain or emotionally reacting to the moment.

Durr, 46, was pronounced dead at 10:36 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

"He was a monster," the victim's mother, Norma Jean Godsey, said after witnessing the execution.

Durr kidnapped 16-year-old Angel Vincent from her home in Elyria on Jan. 31, 1988, while her mother and stepfather were away at a Super Bowl party, prosecutors said. He raped and strangled her with a dog chain and hid her body inside two orange traffic barrels placed end-to-end in a Cleveland park.

In what appeared to be an unusual legal maneuver, Durr's lawyers said last week they uncovered evidence of Durr's anesthesia allergy in his 800-page prison medical record. Ohio uses a large dose of anesthesia to execute condemned inmates, and Durr argued that no one knew how his body would react to the drug.

The state countered that there was no proof that an allergic reaction would occur before Durr was already deeply unconscious and that the worst reaction would be death from low blood pressure and impaired breathing, effects that would be irrelevant in the context of an execution.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene Monday, upholding a judge's ruling that Durr waited too long to raise the allergy issue, then relied mainly on speculation to ask for time to investigate.

Dennis Sipe, one of two attorneys who witnessed Tuesday's execution on behalf of Durr, said Durr's reaction more likely stemmed from physical pain rather than his feelings about being executed.

"I think he had come to terms with the fact that the state was going to end his life," Sipe said.

In a final statement Tuesday, Durr addressed a minister, saying: "I planned to go out in a struggle, but I want to make you proud. I'll go out in peace."

He also told Vincent's family he was sorry for their pain but maintained his innocence. He said he hoped the courts would have allowed further DNA testing on a necklace found on the victim.

"Unfortunately, that's not going to happen," he said. Experts testified there would be no DNA on the necklace, and authorities couldn't guarantee the necklace had been preserved properly as evidence.

Prosecutors said Durr was obsessed with Vincent.

Durr, then 24, had fathered a child with a teenage girlfriend who lived down the street from her. Durr named his newborn daughter Angel and made his girlfriend model the jeans he had removed from his victim the night she was abducted, prosecutors said.

Three months later, several boys playing in the park noticed a foul odor and found Angel Vincent's decomposed body inside the traffic barrels.

The case remained unsolved until Durr was arrested on two unrelated rapes in September 1988. His girlfriend, Deborah Mullins, came forward and told authorities that Durr had picked her up the night Vincent disappeared. Vincent was tied up in the back of the vehicle, Mullins said, and Durr said he was going to "waste" her.

Durr dropped her off at an apartment, Mullins said, then returned about four hours later and placed Vincent's ring and bracelet on a coffee table. Durr boasted that he had strangled Vincent, Mullins said.

He was convicted largely on the testimony of Mullins, who said she waited months to tell police about the murder out of fear that Durr would harm her. Prosecutors said Mullins knew facts about the case that she could not have known without Durr telling her, including the location of the body.

Godsey, who now lives in Monticello, Ky., said Vincent was her only child. She drank and smoked heavily for four years after the murder, leading to chronic bronchitis and other health problems that require her to carry an oxygen tank.

"He took everything from me," she said.

Godsey said she was disappointed that Durr didn't admit his guilt and ask God for forgiveness.

Wesley Brewer, Vincent's uncle, said he was glad Ohio has the death penalty but wished the state used the electric chair instead. Lethal injection, he said, is too humane for a killer like Durr.

Durr was the fourth inmate executed this year in Ohio, which is on pace to execute a state record 11 inmates in 2010.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

Filed by Craig Kanalley  |