Mississippi Carries Out First Execution Since 1989

Mississippi carried out its first execution in 13 years Wednesday, putting to death a man who killed a state trooper. Tracy Alan Hansen was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. after he was given a lethal injection at the state penitentiary at Parchman.

Prison spokesman Ken Jones said Hansen declined to take a sedative offered to him at 5 p.m.

"At that time, he was described as being teary-eyed but quiet,'' Jones s

Hansen shot State Trooper Bruce Ladner after Ladner pulled him over for speeding in 1987 along the Gulf Coast. Hansen's female companion was sentenced to life in prison. The trooper was shot once in the shoulder and once in the back as he lay face down on the roadside.

Hansen was the first inmate executed in Mississippi since 1989 and the first by lethal injection. Hansen's body was to be removed from the penitentiary in a white van to be cremated.

In the final hours before his death, Hansen was visited by attorneys and ministers. He also was allowed to make collect calls. Prison officials said the list of calls included his father Lawrence Hansen in Orlando, Fla.

Bruce Ladner's brother, Kirk Ladner of Gulfport, and the slain trooper's two sons were among the execution's witnesses. Staff Sgt. Joe Gazzo, Ladner's former partner, accompanied members of the slain trooper's family on the six-hour trip from the Gulf Coast to the sprawling prison farm in the Mississippi Delta.

"There's no joy in it that somebody's dying,'' Gazzo said. "But he committed the crime and now he's going to pay the p

Robert McDuff, a Jackson attorney who filed a lawsuit late last week in a failed attempt to block the execution, said Hansen's death would be the "beginning of something people are going to come to regret.'' McDuff said he wouldn't be surprised if Mississippi saw five executions in the next

Hansen spent some time Wednesday talking, asking questions and writing letters, penitentiary officials said. While talkative, Hansen also was "anxious,'' as he walked around his cell, occasionally rubbing his head, prison officials said in a statement. Hansen had spent 15 years on death row. He had requested his final meal be seafood, including lobster, shrimp, crab and oyst

Hansen was allowed a final statement before administration of the lethal drugs. No members of Hansen's family asked to attend the execution.

"He has family, but they've never cared anything about him,'' said defense attorney Merrida Coxwell of Jackson. "He has other people who care for him but the family has not been one o

An attorney, a spiritual adviser and a close friend from England have asked to be Hansen's witnesses, said MDOC officials.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove denied clemency to Hansen, asking Mississippians to pray for both the victim's family and the condemned man. The Mississippi Supreme Court denied a stay Monday.