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Recalling An Execution

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Monday night there will be a select few that will watch 50-year-old Eric Robert die by lethal injection. Among those witnesses will be two members of the media. Sunday, we talked to a member of the media who witnessed the last execution in South Dakota to find out what it’s like to see someone put to death.

“Warden Weber is standing next to the inmate and he reads a statement saying he is condemned to die and in this case he has given up his rights,” said Carson Walker, a former member of The Associated Press in South Dakota.

 Carson Walker has witnessed an execution first hand.

“The warden gives him an opportunity to offer any last words, and once that happens, after the last words, if he gives any, it happens very fast,” said Walker.

It was on July 12, 2007 that 25-year-old Elijah Page was put to death by lethal injection for the 2000 murder of Chester Allen Poage.

Walker, who was working for the South Dakota Associated Press, said after Page was asked if he had any final words, and Page responded 'no', three drugs were administered through tubes in his arms.

Walker said he recalls the process being quick.

"His chest really heaved and there were three large gasps, almost like a snore, of him gasping for air presumably,” described Walker. “Those were his last breathes because after that he was quiet. And there is a long wait of six or seven minutes until he is actually declared dead.”

Walker said he could see Page's skin slowly turn a pale blue, and as Page was declared dead, he and another reporter recall hearing crying.
“Have this, all this activity and then in the witness rooms, you can hear some crying in the next room,” said Walker.

Walker said the process is very clinical like and shortly after Page was pronounced dead, he was removed from the bed and taken to the morgue.

Walker said that's when you realize that someone has just passed.
Page’s execution is the only one Walker has witnessed. He said it is apart of being a crime reporter as he follows stories from beginning to end.
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