Waiting to Die: William LeCroy

News 10's Jordan Kudisch served as a media witness for the execution of LeCroy. Here is how she describes his final moments.

Posted: Sep 23, 2020 3:14 AM
Updated: Sep 25, 2020 9:47 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)-  On September 22nd, William Emmett LeCroy Jr, said his final words and took his final breath. At 9:06 p.m. ET, he was officially pronounced dead by the Vigo County Coroner.

According to court documents, LeCroy robbed, sexually assaulted, and stabbed 30-year-old Joann Lee Tiesler to death.

After painful years of waiting and suffering, Tiesler's family says in a statement, justice has finally been served.

I arrived at the media training center right at 4 o'clock. I was one of the first out of four journalists to arrive.

As I entered the building my temperature was taken and I was asked a series of questions relating to COVID-19 symptoms.

After receiving my I.D. badge, I walked towards a table with a piece of paper that labeled my name. On the table rested a form, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and a plastic bag and marker.

After filling out the form and returning it to officials, we were escorted into a white van.

From there, we went through a security screening, much like an airport process. My jewelry was removed, I was asked to remove my mask to check the inside, and I walked through a cylinder machine that x-rayed my body.

After all of the screening, we got back on the bus only to return to the media training center. I knew at this point, that something must have been off with the scheduled execution as time was ticking and we were not moving towards the execution chambers.

A legal back-and-forth battle caused a delay, leaving us to sit inside the center for an additional two hours. I watched 6 o'clock pass by, the time originally scheduled.

I was becoming more anxious as I waited. Officials walked passed me, but none of them mentioned why we were still waiting. We were offered water and bathroom breaks in the meantime.

Finally, after two and a half hours, at 7:40 p.m., we re-entered the white vans. We headed towards the execution chamber and immediately stopped. Again, we sat, not knowing the reason why.

Around 8:35 p.m., we made our way towards the chambers. When we arrived guards opened the van doors and we walked through yet another security measure.

When entering the death chamber, the first thing I noticed was the smell. It lingered disinfectant and hospital smells. I also noticed how small the room was. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the room was very small. I could count at least 9 chairs within the room, it felt very cramped.

The entire process was long except for the physical execution. It started before I even realized it. Another journalist tapped my shoulder to show me that the curtain had been raised.

On the gurney, laid LeCroy. His body type was much heavier than what I was expecting. The first thing I noticed was the mint green sheet covering his feet and his stomach that stuck out from under it.

He looked much different than his mugshot taken twenty years ago. His facial hair was long and portions were brown and gray.

His right arm was bent with an IV inserted at the arm crease and his fingers were in the shape of an 'OK' symbol. His other hand also had an IV going into it. Four different clear IV lines came from a small square in the wall behind him.

An official came over the speaker and announced LeCroy's crimes. He was asked if he had a final statement to which he responded confidently, "Sister Battista is about to receive in the postal service my last statement."

According to another journalist who spoke with Battista, LeCroy did not want to read the statement because he did not like journalists. Allegedly he said he didn't want to make a theatrical production out of it.

From there, the lethal injection process began but it was not announced. My watch read at 8:48 p.m. At first, LeCroy seemed calm and unphased. However, that quickly changed as his body received a lethal cocktail.

His stomach started going up and down intensely. His mouth quivered as he was gasping for air. His eyes slowly closed, his mouth dropped and opened, and his body stayed still. I could see his chest moving but with each breath, it became less noticeable. His lips began to change from pink to almost a nude color. I could tell he was losing grasp of his life by the color of his lips and fingertips. His fingers became a tint of blue, I could tell the blood was no longer reaching them as the veins enlarged.

I checked my watch again, five minutes had passed but it felt like an eternity. I continued to keep my eyes glued to LeCroy, watching his every movement. His eyes remained partially open and his hands continued to change colors. I checked my watch again. It read at 9:05 p.m.

A minute later, it came over the speaker "That concludes the execution of Inmate LeCroy, time of death, 9:06 p.m." As the curtain came back down, I couldn't process what just happened. My hands and legs were shaking as I tried to collect myself.

We were then escorted out of the room back into the van. Once we arrived at the media center we were issued a written statement by the victim's family. A portion of it read, "Today justice was finally served. William LeCroy died a peaceful death in stark comparison to the horror he imposed on my daughter Joann."

I was told by another journalist, that Sister Battista anticipates receiving LeCroy's final statement by Wednesday. If she shares it, we will be sure to provide that information.

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