RE-FILE - ADDS SLUG Inmate Robert Gleason Jr., is shown in this March 2011 handout photo supplied by Virginia Department of Corrections January 15, 2013. Gleason is scheduled to die in the electric chair after strangling two other prisoners while incarcerated and vowed to keeping killing unless he was put to death. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has said he will not block Wednesday's scheduled execution according to reports. REUTERS/Virginia Dept of Corrections/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo : REUTERS)
Robert Gleason Jr., who strangled two cellmates and warned that he would continue to kill if he wasn't executed, died in the electric chair Wednesday at the Greensville Correction Center in Virginia.
The 42-year-old man was sentenced to death for strangling two cell mates, Harvey Gray Watson and Aaron Alexander, while in two different prisons. Watson was restrained, beaten and gagged before he died, while Cooper was repeatedly strangled and permitted to take a breath before taking his last one, according to Virginia newspaper the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"Put me on the highway going to Jackson and call my Irish buddies...God bless," said Gleason before he died, according to the Times-Dispatch. Gleason was reportedly unapologetic up until his last breath.
Gleason, who believed that being killed was the only way to stop him from murder, instructed his lawyers not to oppose the execution or to appeal his death sentences, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"Killing to him is no different than 'going to the fridge to get a 'beer' or 'tying a shoe,'" officials wrote, quoting Gleason's words, in a brief filed with the Virginia Supreme Court last year. "[Gleason] repeatedly made clear that he would continue to kill unless he received a death sentence."
Gleason was the first execution in the U.S. this year and the first inmate to request death by electric chair since 2010, according to CBS News. Virginia, as well as nine other states, allows prisoners to choose between lethal injection and electrocution.
Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said that Gleason's only visitor Wednesday was his spiritual adviser.
Family members of at least one of the victims witnessed the execution from a private viewing room. Their identities are kept confidential.