Man convicted of killing carnival boss executed in Alabama

A man convicted of killing his former boss at a traveling carnival nearly two decades ago was executed Thursday night after dropping his appeals and asking to be put to death.

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 10:14 AM

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — A man convicted of killing his former boss at a traveling carnival nearly two decades ago was executed Thursday night after dropping his appeals and asking to be put to death.

Michael Wayne Eggers, 50, died at 7:29 p.m. CDT after receiving a lethal injection at a southwest Alabama prison.

He declined to give any last words, replying "No ma'am," when the warden asked. He gave a thumbs-up signal to friends and family as the lethal injection began. The victim's family did not witness the execution.

Eggers was sentenced to death for the 2000 strangulation of his former employer, Bennie Francis Murray. Prosecutors said Eggers admitted to strangling Murray, who had hired him to work at her concessions business for a traveling carnival, when they got into an argument when she was driving him to his car. Her body was found in Walker County, northwest of Birmingham.

Following disagreements with his attorneys, Eggers dropped his appeals in 2016 and asked Alabama to quickly schedule his execution. In a handwritten filing, he asked judges to allow his "immediate execution in the interests of truth, law and justice."

His former attorneys unsuccessfully asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. They argued that Eggers suffered from schizophrenia and delusions and was mentally incompetent when he made the decision. They wrote that Eggers believed he was the subject of a government conspiracy and "would rather die than be represented by lawyers who do not support his delusional view of his case."

The Supreme Court ruled at 5:30 p.m. that the execution could proceed. It began about 80 minutes later.

Eggers raised his left arm after a corrections officer pinched his arm to check if he was unconscious. He did not respond to a second consciousness check about five minutes later. His breathing, which had been rapid and heavy at the start of the procedure, slowed to where it was no longer perceptible.

He was pronounced dead about 35 minutes after the death warrant was read.

Eggers opposed efforts by his former attorneys to stop the execution. The petition to the Supreme Court was made without his consent. A prison spokeswoman said Eggers requested that no attorneys be allowed to visit him, or witness the lethal injection. Eggers met with friends and family Thursday ahead of his lethal injection, but not attorneys.

The state attorney general's office had asked the Supreme Court to let the execution proceed.

The state argued that Eggers made a rational decision to drop his appeals. Lawyers for the state noted that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 upheld a district court's ruling that he was competent.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement that "justice has finally been served tonight for the Murray family."

"Michael Eggers showed no mercy towards his victim, his former employer, Bennie Francis Murray, who donated much of her personal time to helping him find a new job. On the night of her murder, Mrs. Murray gave Eggers a lift to pick up his car. Instead of showing her gratitude, Eggers rewarded her kindness by brutally beating and strangling her," Marshall said.

His former attorney said that Eggers was mentally ill and used the death chamber to commit suicide.

"Tonight the state of Alabama assisted a severely mentally ill man in committing suicide. Michael Eggers was as mentally ill tonight as he was the previous eight times he asked to be executed over the last 15 years. Tonight, let's pray for Mrs. Murray and her family, Mr Eggers and his family, and pray that in death, Michael finds the peace he did not have when he was alive," attorney John Palombi wrote in an email.

This was Alabama's first execution of the year.

The state halted the lethal injection of Doyle Lee Hamm last month when the execution team had trouble off getting the intravenous line connected. Hamm's lawyer says he had damaged veins because of lymphoma, hepatitis and past drug use. A doctor hired by Hamm's legal team wrote in a report included with the court filing that Hamm had at least 11 puncture sites and bled heavily from his groin during the attempts to connect the line.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 51°
Columbus
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 41°
Starkville
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather