Posted December 5, 2003 6:15 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Perhaps it was the rain and the cold. Or perhaps it was because there have been so many executions this year.
""FATHER JUDE SICILIANO/ DEATH PENALTY OPPONENT: This is terrible. This is the seventh this year.""
Only a handful of protestors stood outside central prison. Their numbers small-- their resolve, just the opposite.
""SICILIANO: IF SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING TERRIBLE LIKE MURDER, THEY SHOULD BE IMPRISONED BUT WE SHOULDN'T BE KILLING THEM. ARE WE ANY BETTER THAN THEY ARE?""
But the family of Stephen Stafford would disagree.
""RAMONA STAFFORD/ VICTIM'S WIFE: THOSE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT A MORATORIUM DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE MULTIPLE APPEALS AND THE NUMBER OF JUDGES WHO HAVE REVIEWED THESE CASES AND THE ROAD SURVIVORS MUST RAVEL TO GET JUSTICE FOR THEIR LOVED ONES.""
31 year old Robbie Lyons confessed to killin Stafford in '93 in a Forsyth County grocery store owned by Stafford. Lyon's attorneys argued the killing was the result of a robbery.
""KIRK OSBORN/ DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I JUST WATCHED THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA COMMIT PREMEDITATED, DELIBERATE MALICE MURDER FOR AN UNINTENTIONAL KILLING.""
""STAFFORD: WHEN YOU SHOOT SOMEONE IN THE BACK, THAT'S PRETTY PREMEDITATED AND A DELIBERATE ACTION.""
Stafford's wife and two children watched as their father's killer was put to a quiet death.
""PAM SAULSBY/ MEDIA WITNESS: FOR AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES STRAIGHT IT LOOKED AS THOUGH HE WERE PRAYING AND PRAYING.""
""DAVID HALL/ ASST DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FORSYTH COUNTY: MR. LYONS PASSED AWAY VERY PEACEFULLY AND WE BELIEVE JUSTICE HAS BEEN ACHIEVED IN THIS CASE.""