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Mississippi Executes Jan Michael Brawner

By Daniel Cherry | Published 13 Jun 2012 03:12am | comments

A Mississippi man convicted of four counts of capital murder is now dead. Jan Michael Brawner was put to death last night by lethal injection at the Mississippi Penitentiary in Parchman. MPB’s Daniel Cherry witnessed the execution.

Wearing the standard red jumpsuit, convicted murderer Jan Michael Brawner was escorted into the execution chamber around 6 last night. He was strapped securely to the injection gurney, and when asked if he had any last words, he said to the victims' family, quote, "I can’t bring anything back. I can’t change what I’ve done. Maybe this will bring you a little peace." Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps met with Brawner throughout the day. Epps says Brawner never denied the crimes and showed remorse for what he did.

"The last conversation I had with the death row inmate Brawner was that, I asked him was he ready to go, and he said he was prepared. And he said he deserved to be executed for what he did."

In 2001, according to court documents, Brawner left his Southaven apartment, and drove an hour to the Tate County town of Sarah to confront his ex-wife at her parents' home. While arguing over custody of their three year old daughter, Brawner shot his former mother in law before turning the gun on his ex-wife. He then shot them both again to make sure they were dead. Brawner's daughter witnessed both of the shootings. He sent the daughter away to watch TV before realizing she could identify him…that’s when he went back and shot his daughter twice in the head. He waited on his former father in law to return home from work and shot him as he walked through the door. John Champion is the District Attorney who prosecuted the case 10 years ago.

"He went even so far as to steal the wallet from his ex-father-in-law and took his ex-mother-in-law's wedding ring off, and actually went up to Southaven that night and proposed to his girlfriend and gave her that ring."

David Craft is the only family member who came to witness the execution. It was Craft's parents, sister and niece who were killed a decade ago. Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance says the quadruple murder is one of the worst cases he's ever worked.

"What we saw, or what I saw tonight was justice for the citizens of Tate County, for the State of Mississippi, and, most importantly, for the victims and the Craft family. We don't have a lot of violent crime in our county. This crime shook our whole community terribly. I hope this brings closure to the Craft family."

Following the execution the family issued a statement saying they will never understand why the killings happened. The statement is read by Dilloworth Ricks, Victims Services Director.

"Man has a choice of good and evil. Michael chose evil, while my family chose good. God's peace prevails over this evil because we know in our hearts that my sister and her family dwell in Heaven with the Lord."

But not everyone at Parchman was satisfied with the execution. Sister Maureen Delaney of Tutwiler was one of nearly a dozen people who stood outside to protest and pray for Brawner. Sister Delaney says her faith won't allow her to support the death penalty.

"I guess some people still think that's the way to do things. Is that if you kill somebody then you execute them too. It's, I think, pretty much an Old Testament mentality of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. That's not the message of the Gospel to me."

The United States Supreme Court denied Brawner's petition for a stay of execution. Shortly after 6 o'clock, the lethal drug cocktail rushed into Jan Michael Brawner's veins. Brawner's eyes shut, his head drooped to the side, and in a matter of minutes, he breathed his last. At 6:18 he was pronounced dead. District Attorney John Champion hopes this will bring peace to the Craft family.

"I've been thinking about this for a while, and I've thought more about David (Craft) and his family, and just hoping it would do them some good to get this behind them."

Immediately after the execution, David Craft appeared to have that peace. With tears in his eyes, he hugged Champion and other law enforcement officers who helped bring Brawner to justice a decade ago. 



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