Alabama executes contract killer

2010-06-11 13:16

Washington - Convicted murderer John Forrest Parker was executed Thursday in the US state of Alabama for the 1988 contract killing of a pastor's wife, a prison official said.

Parker, 42, died by lethal injection at 18:41 (23:41 GMT) for the killing of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, Alabama prison authority spokesperson Brian Corbett said.

"I'm sorry. I don't ever expect you to forgive me," Parker told the woman's family shortly before dying. "I really am sorry."

Parker was 19 when he and an accomplice accepted a proposal by a pastor to kill his wife, a 45-year-old grandmother, for money. Sennett was stabbed and beaten to death.

Her debt-ridden husband had taken out a life insurance policy on behalf of his wife shortly before recruiting Parker and a friend to kill her. The husband committed suicide a few days after the killing.

After his trial, a jury convicted Parker of capital murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

But the judge overruled the jury's punishment and sentenced him to death, his lawyers said in a statement.

Among the 35 US states that employ the death penalty, Alabama is one of three that allow judges to override the verdict of a jury.

This was the second execution of the year in Alabama and the 27th overall in the United States in 2010.