Three days before his execution, condemned inmate Tracy Alan Hansen said a lifetime of crime and a friendless childhood brought him to Mississippi's death row.
The letter to The Associated Press was dated July 14 and postmarked July 17, the same day the 39-year-old Hansen was executed for shooting and killing State Trooper Bruce Ladner after a traffic stop on Interstate 10 in 1987.
He and his girlfriend, who was sentenced to life in prison, had been on a crime spree in Florida when they drove into Mississippi. Hansen said he had been a crook most of his life and in and out of jails since a youth. He described himself as a loner and friendless.
He said friends he had developed since imprisoned had "blessed'' his life, forgiven him for his sins and brought love to his heart. He said he hoped Ladner would be pleased with the way his life has changed.
"I hope he can look down and see that ironic as it may seem, the one least worthy of him giving anything, he gave me a chance to get my heart in order and get away from the destructive path I was on,'' Hansen wrote.
Hansen was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 6:32 p.m. Wednesday at the state penitentiary at Parchman. As he said in his final statement Wednesday, Hansen wrote that he had made many friendships over the years, many of them through the mail. He said he was concerned about the pain they would feel at his death.
"I've changed a lot since I was arrested 15 years ago,'' the condemned man wrote. "My childhood was abusive in many ways. I left home as a child. I didn't have good social skills. I stole without realizing how I hurt the heart of others ... was locked up as a child, and as an adult. I've had times on the run as an outlaw where I had not a single friend or family I could turn to,'' Hansen said.
Hansen said he felt "complete regret'' for Ladner's death. As he had said in previous letters to news media and in his final statement before his death, Hansen said he had been told that Ladner was a good family man, a leader in his community and helpful to others.
"Yes, surely, I very much regret that someone so beautiful has left this world which needs such people, and regret all the more than I had anything to do with it,'' Hansen wrote.
Hansen said that he didn't give much thought to dying.
"I consider it in ways for me to apply what legal fights I may find, and for consideration of what loved ones are going through ... for what they may feel if I'm killed on the 17th. My heart is at peace and not distracted by it all."
"I don't figure it takes so long to die ... so if they came to me on horses rather than in suits, or hung me rather than strapped me to a table and injected poison into my body, a couple minutes isn't that considerable when compared to how many minutes one has in life,'' Hansen wrote.