The Washington Post

Virginia Executes O'Dell Despite Worldwide Pleas; Condemned Man Marries Shortly Before Dying

Joseph Roger O'Dell III was executed by injection tonight about eight hours after he married the woman who launched a worldwide campaign to spare his life.

O'Dell, 55, was pronounced dead at 9:16 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center here. In a final statement, he said, "Today was the happiest day of my life when I got married to my wife." He asserted his innocence of the 1985 murder of Helen Schartner, a 44-year-old Virginia Beach woman who was raped and strangled, and asked that Gov. George Allen preserve the evidence in his case. "Governor Allen, you're killing an innocent man," he said.

Addressing his victim's son, he said, "Eddie, I'm sorry your mother is dead, but I didn't kill her. . . . Some day, you'll find that out." O'Dell's last words were: "To my wife, Lori, I love you. I love you for all eternity. …

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