Four inmates sit on South Dakota’s death row now that convicted murderer Eric Robert is dead after Monday night’s lethal injection. All inmates who face the death penalty get an opportunity to speak last words.
At one minute after 10 p.m. Monday night in the execution chamber, South Dakota State Penitentiary Warden Doug Weber asked Eric Robert if he had any last words.
Robert replied, “In the name of justice and liberty and mercy, I authorize and forgive Warden Douglas Weber to execute me for my crimes. It is done.”
Media witness John Hult says Robert emphasized the latter sentence.
"There was added emphasis on the last word," Hult says. "And, as you said, it was almost as if there was a period after each of the last three words."
The convicted killer’s Attorney Mark Kadi witnessed his client’s death. He says Eric Robert’s last words communicated that he forgave the man who executed him.
"That’s the one thing left for him to do," Kadi says. "It may seem like a minor, odd point for everybody else, but from the perspective of a man who’s got seconds left, the last thing he wanted to do was forgive the individual who was causing the execution, causing his death."
Kadi says this last gesture was part of Robert’s process of coming to grips with his actions and accepting his death.