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Arkansas executes killer of five

VARNER, Ark., May 8 -- Clay King Smith was executed Tuesday in Arkansas for the 1998 murders of his ex-girlfriend and four other people, three of them children.

"I would like to say I am sorry about what I did to the victims' families.

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I hope your heart heals. I love my family. I love my family," were the last words Smith uttered before a lethal injection ended his life at 9.07 p.m. CDT.

Four family members of the victims saw the execution but they all declined to be interviewed.

Smith had gunned down the victims in a two-bedroom mobile home at Pine Bluff in southeast Arkansas. He had waived his right to appeal the conviction and death sentence.

Smith was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, Misty Erwin, 20; her cousin, Shelly Sorg, 24; Sorg's two children, Sean Michael, 5; and Taylor, 3; and Samantha Rhodes, 12, a family friend.

Smith was arrested after a shootout with police a day after the bodies were found in the Pine Bluff mobile home.

Smith had written letters to the families of the victims asking for their forgiveness.

Brenda Bratton, who lost her only daughter, Samantha Rhodes, has corresponded with Smith, trying to get some answers but was not satisfied.

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"All he told me was something woke him up and told him to kill," Bratton told the Pine Bluff Commercial. "He said he did not want to go over it again. He said he was happy that he had reunited with God and he wouldn't have to think about it anymore."

Smith's execution was the first this year in Arkansas and the 195th since the state took over executions from the counties in 1914.

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