TERRE HAUTE, Ind., March 18 (UPI) -- A decorated Gulf War veteran who claimed he suffered brain damage from nerve gas was executed by lethal injection Tuesday at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Louis Jones Jr. was convicted of raping and killing another soldier, Pvt. Tracie Joy McBride. Jones, 53, was the third federal prisoner in 40 years to be executed since Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh died by lethal injection at the same federal penitentiary in 2001.
President Bush refused to commute Jones's sentence to life without possibility of parole and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the execution.
Jones, the second Gulf War veteran executed by the federal government, was declared dead at 7:08 a.m., hours after eating a last meal of peaches, plums and nectarines. Anti-death penalty protesters held a vigil outside the federal penitentiary before the execution.
McBride, 19, was beaten to death with a tire iron Feb. 18, 1995, two years after Jones was honorably discharged ending a 22-year Army career. He had no prior criminal record and was decorated for service in the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada and the 1991 Gulf War.
Jones admitted kidnapping the young female recruit at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, but his lawyer argued for clemency claiming Jones had suffered behavior-altering brain damage from exposure to nerve gas during the Gulf War that gave him uncontrollable violent urges.
"Killing Jones would send a message to our troops (that) if you come back mentally damaged, we will have no mercy for you," Karen Burkhart of Amnesty International told the Indianapolis Star.
A handful of Jones' supporters also held a vigil for the death row inmate outside a federal building in Chicago an hour before the execution.