Murder Stories: Notorious serial killer and man who wiped out family to be executed

A notorious serial killer who terrorised a Florida city and a murderer who wiped out an entire family are set to be executed in the US this month.

Scotty Morrow, 52, was put to death by lethal injection on Thursday for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and her friend in front of his former partner’s five-year-old son.

Following Morrow’s execution, three more death row prisoners are set to be put to death this month, including two in one evening.

One is a man who used a large plastic bag to kill his wife, another is a man who helped to murder a family of four – including two young girls whose throats’ were slashed – and the third is a notorious serial killer who preyed on women and girls.

In a final interview, one of the men said he is “too blessed to be stressed” about being executed.

Here is a look at their cases.

Donnie Edward Johnson

Donnie Edward Johnson used a large plastic bag to kill his wife
Donnie Edward Johnson used a large plastic bag to kill his wife
Donnie Edward Johnson has said he is “too blessed to be stressed” about being executed on May 16, and he wanted to make amends for “my many past mistakes” in his final days.Now 68, he was sentenced to death for killing his wife Connie in Memphis, Tennessee in December 1984.

Mrs Johnson died when her husband stuffed a large plastic bag in her mouth and suffocated her at the camping equipment shop where he worked.

With help from a colleague, he loaded her body into her van and dumped the vehicle outside a mall.

His execution date looming, Johnson told the Tennessean from prison: “I am too blessed to be stressed. I accept whatever the Lord allows to happen, even my death. If my work is done, then I am content.”

Cynthia Vaughan, Mrs Johnson’s daughter from a previous relationship, has forgiven her stepfather and urged Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to spare his life.

Johnson said he is “estranged” from the son, Jason, he and his wife had together, and he hopes one day his son will forgive him for what he did.

He no longer contests his guilt, and has instructed his legal team not to file any last-minute appeals.

Michael Samra

Michael Samra was 20 when he helped to kill a family of four
Michael Samra was 20 when he helped to kill a family of four

Unlike Johnson, Alabama death row inmate Michael Samra, who was convicted of murdering a family, is trying to halt his execution, also set for May 16.

The 42-year-old has asked the state’s highest court to stay the execution while his case is reviewed by the US Supreme Court.

Samra, then 20, murdered Randy Duke, his fiancée Dedra Mims Hunt and her two daughters – six-year-old Chelisa Nicole Hunt and seven-year-old Chelsea Marie Hunt – on March 22, 1997.

According to court documents, Mr Duke’s 16-year-old son, Mark, hatched the quadruple murder plot because his father wouldn’t let him use a truck.

Mr Duke and Ms Hunt were shot to death, and the two girls’ throats were slashed, AL.com reported.

Mark Duke’s death sentence was overturned because he was 16 at the time of the murders. He is now serving a life sentence without parole.

Samra’s legal team has argued his life should be spared because he was under the age of 21 at the time.

Robert Long

Robert Long, 65, is trying to have his death warrant thrown out
Robert Long, 65, is trying to have his death warrant thrown out

Notorious serial killer and rapist Robert Long murdered at least eight women in or around Tampa Bay, Florida, in the 1980s.

He was sentenced to death for the May 27, 1984, murder of beauty pageant contestant Michelle Denise Simms.

Lisa McVey Noland, who was 17 when she was abducted and raped by Long in November 1984, will watch from a witness room as the killer is put to death.

She convinced Long to let her go, and she helped police to bring his killing spree to an end.

Now a police officer, she recently told ABC News: “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

“Yeah, there’s forgiveness, but there’s also a price to pay for that forgiveness and his time is coming.

“He knows it and ironically, he is very scared and it’s about time. Your life’s about to end. Because where is the justice where is the humanity for those victims that he took?”

First sentenced to die in 1985, Long, now 65, is seeking to have his death warrant thrown out because of the name listed on it.

The death warrant says “Robert Joseph Long” is scheduled to be put to death on May 23, but the man’s legal name is Bobby Joe Long.

Long’s attorney has asked a Florida judge to throw out the death warrant, saying if the state is going to carry out the “harshest of punishments” if must do so “correctly”, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Scotty Morrow

Scotty Morrow 
Scotty Morrow

Scotty Morrow, 52, died by lethal injection at a state prison in Georgia on Thursday after his last-minute plea for mercy was rejected.

Morrow fatally shot his ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend Tonya Woods in the face just days after Christmas in 1994.

The killings were witnessed by Ms Young’s five-year-old son.

In his final statement, Morrow said: “I would like to give my deepest and sincerest apology to the Woods family and to the Young family.

“I hope that you all recover and have healing.”

He thanked his family and added: “I love you all. God bless.”
Shortly after the lethal drug was administered, Morrow’s chest heaves and his head tilted to the right, said eyewitnesses.

He was pronounced dead just over ten minutes after the drug was injected into his bloodstream.

Morrow’s final meal was a hamburger with mayo, two orders of chicken waffles, buttered popcorn, two all-beef franks, butter pecan ice cream and a large lemonade.

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