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Jeanne Brown, left, who had a sister and father murdered, speaks during a news conference as her husband Richard Brown listens, after the nearly two-hour long execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood at the state prison on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Florence, Ariz.

., Associated Press

Victims' relative has no pity for murderer executed in Arizona

  • Article by: Danielle Paquette
  • Washington Post
  • July 24, 2014 - 8:08 PM

Jeanne Brown sat in the front row. She wanted to watch this man die, up close. She wanted to look him in the eyes.

Brown, 44, waited 25 years for the execution of Joseph Wood, who in 1989 fatally shot her sister and father in a Tucson, Ariz., body shop. On Wednesday, at 1:50 p.m., she listened to his last words in an Arizona prison: “May God forgive you all.” She swore she saw him laugh. She felt her heart pound. Nearly two hours later, Wood still clung to life.

Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. on Wednesday. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ordered a review.

Flanked by her husband and sister on Wednesday, Brown kept her eyes on Wood. “I kept wondering, ‘What’s happening?’ He was snoring.”

Wood was sentenced to death in 1991 for shooting and killing Debra Dietz, his longtime girlfriend, and her father, Eugene, who disapproved of the relationship. In 1989 Wood walked into the body shop where they worked and shot Eugene in the chest. He shot Debra twice, Brown said, as she begged for her life.

Brown’s husband, Richard, hid under a car and saw it happen. Now he sat beside her at the prison, holding her hand.

They thought of the day that fueled 25 years of nightmares.

Brown was almost 19 when a police officer knocked on the door with the news. She learned Wood’s execution date three months ago and took a couple of days off work.

“I had to go see Joe die and get right back to normal,” she said. “I wasn’t going to cry.”

Brown was not concerned about the length or nature of Wood’s death. “He gave his life up when he killed my sister and my dad 25 years ago. This day was not about him.”

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