LIVE: The Execution of Richard Leavitt


UPDATE: 11:42 a.m.

UPDATE: 10:58 a.m.

The media is being debriefed after the execution of Richard Leavitt this morning.

"The process went as planned," said Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg. "It was very uneventful."

KBOI Channel 2 reporter Scott Logan, to whom Leavitt said in a story June 8 that he was about to be executed for a crime he did not commit, said it was so quiet in the execution chamber that he was startled by the air conditioner.

UPDATE: 10:53 a.m.

UPDATE: 10:36 a.m.

Richard Leavitt, auto mechanic, father, husband and convicted murderer was put to death this morning by the State of Idaho at approximately 10:25 a.m.

The Ada County coroner declared that Leavitt was dead after two syringes, each containing 2.5 grams of Pentobarbital, sent the lethal chemical through his veins, first shutting down his respiration, knocking him unconscious and ultimately causing respiratory collapse. Cardiac arrest and death soon followed.

Leavitt, aka Inmate No. 23081, was executed for the murder of 31-year-old Danette Elg of Blackfoot in July 1984. Leavitt had declared his innocence for nearly three decades of appeals and on May 23 took part in a polygraph test, which Dr. Charles Honts, renowned polygraph expert, said indicated “that there are some questions here.”

On July 21, 1984, Eastern Idaho lawmen discovered Elg’s body inside her home. Officials guessed that she had been dead for as many as four days when they found her. She has been stabbed repeatedly in her heart and lungs, and her genitals and anus had been removed from her body. Following a 10-day trial, a jury of six men and six women deliberated for three-and-a-half hours before convicting Leavitt of first-degree murder on Sept. 25, 1985.

Brent Reinke, director of the Idaho Department of Correction, told Citydesk that Leavitt had asked for a sedative on several occasions in the hours leading up to the inmate’s execution.

“I would say that his mood was one of resolve,” said Reinke.

The prison chief said that his staff had “been preparing for today’s execution since our last execution in November,” when Paul Ezra Rhoades was put to death by the State of Idaho.

"But our staff take no joy in this duty," said Reinke.

Leavitt’s execution was Idaho's second in seven months, the third since 1984 and only the fourth since 1957.

In the hours leading up to his execution, Leavitt didn’t ask for a spiritual adviser but was in the constant company of his attorneys. Leavitt did not receive any note from his fellow inmates, who had sent a card of condolence to Rhoades prior to his November execution.

When asked when Idaho will see another execution, Reinke said that it was possible that another lethal injection may occur as earlier as the first part of 2013, but Attorney General Lawrence Wasden added caution.

"It requires speculation," said Wasden. "Guessing would not be fair to the victims' families or the inmates themselves."

Moss had the final say.

"I think justice was served today," said the former prosecutor.

UPDATE: 10:31 a.m.

IDOC officials announce that Richard Leavitt has been executed. Official time of death is 10:25 a.m.

UPDATE: 9:51 a.m.

According to Boise Weekly reporter Andrew Crisp, who is at the prison, "Everything is occurring as planned, report IDOC officials. Leavitt will be led to death chamber shortly."

UPDATE: 9:13 a.m.

A group of about 25 people has gathered to protest today's execution of Richard Leavitt. Protester and Catholic Mia Crosthwaite told Citydesk: "Tomorrow my children will be no safer."

Execute Justice, Not People, read protest signs from individuals against the Leavitt execution.
  • "Execute Justice, Not People," read protest signs from individuals against the Leavitt execution.

UPDATE: 8:39 a.m.

Protesters read a passage from the Bible to protest the execution of Richard Leavitt.
  • Protesters read a passage from the Bible to protest the execution of Richard Leavitt.

UPDATE: 8:29 a.m.

UPDATE: 7:56 a.m.

Boise Weekly is at the Idaho State Prison complex reporting on the execution of Richard Leavitt this morning. Regular updates will be posted here. Follow @boiseweekly for the most up-to-date information.

ORIGINAL POST: 6:42 a.m.

The Idaho State Prison complex, south of Boise, was draped in a steel-gray sunrise as inmate #23081 waits in Maximum Security's F Block today.

Richard Leavitt, who has been behind bars since December 1984 for the July 1984 slaying of Danette Elg in her Blackfoot Home, is scheduled to be put to death for his crimes. Leavitt will be the second prisoner put to death in Idaho in less than a year and only the fourth since 1957.

Prison officials have opted to shift to what it calls its "Method No. 4," to execute Leavitt, using two syringes, each containing 2.5 grams of Pentobarbital. Relatives, law enforcement and four media witnesses will bear witness to the execution.

Leavitt has presumably run out of legal options, losing appeals to the United States Supreme Court, Idaho State Supreme Court and the Idaho Court of Appeals. On May 23, Leavitt participated in a polygraph test, administered by Dr. Charles Hontes, nationally renowned polygraph expert and Boise State psychology professor, who told Citydesk that Leavitt passed answering three very specific questions:

"Did you stab Danette elg?" "Did you remove Danette Elg's internal genitals?" "Were you present when Danette Elg was stabbed?"

Honts said Leavitt answered "no" to each.

"I have very strong personal feelings about injustice and falsely convicting innocent people," said Honts. "I think what a polygraph does is start to ask questions, and it appears that there are some questions here."

But the clock keeps ticking toward 10 a.m., the scheduled time for Leavitt to die.