State’s former executioner has change of heart about the death penalty

Posted at 4:16 PM, Feb 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-23 16:16:39-05

Richmond, Va. – Jerry Givens of Richmond killed 62 inmates and then to prison himself before he came to the conclusion that state-run executions aren’t a good idea.

“The guys never complained,” he told WTVR recently. “No guy ever bucked on us – put up resistance. Never. I even had one guy come out and kiss the chair.”

That was double-murderer Willie Leroy Jones, electrocuted on Sept. 11, 1992.

Givens hit the switch or pushed the plunger for some of the worst killers in state history before going to prison himself in 1999 after being convicted of money laundering for using drug money to buy two vehicles for an old friend who didn’t have a license.
Givens preferred the electric chair to lethal injection, which became the prime mode of execution in 1995.

“You feel more attached” with lethal injection, Givens said. “During an electrocution, it’s a button you push and the machine runs for 45 seconds. You push it again and it runs for another 45 seconds. Lethal injection you’re on the end, pushing a syringe into a line and you’re watching the chemicals go down the line into the condemned’s veins.”

Read more about Givens and his changed views on the death penalty at WTVR.