LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The state of Arkansas has executed an inmate for the first time in 12 years.
Following hours upon hours of legal limbo, about 30 minutes to midnight, the Supreme Court of the United States finally reached a conclusion -- Arkansas would be allowed to go forward with death row inmate Ledell Lee's execution.
Lee died by lethal injection at 11:56 p.m. Thursday, April 20, just 4 minutes before his death warrant was to expire at midnight. His execution was originally scheduled for 7 p.m., but was delayed due to last-minute legal proceedings.
Lee had been on death row since 1995. On his final night, in lieu of a traditional last meal, Lee requested communion.
In February 1993, 27-year-old Lee robbed and strangled 26-year-old Debra Reese in her Jacksonville home. He then beat her 36 times with the same tire thumper her husband gave her for protection.
Her son was only six years old.
Lee was sentenced to death two years after Reese's murder.
Prosecutors referred to him as a "psychosexual serial rapist."
According to court documents, Reese wasn't Lee's only victim. He committed violent crimes against five women, all in the Sunnyside area of Jacksonville. Some involved rape and some ended with murder.
The ages of Lee's victims ranged from 17 to 70.
After spending 22 years on death row, Lee maintained his innocence until the end.
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