Former soldier obsessed with witchcraft executed at federal penitentiary

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A former U.S. soldier who said an obsession with witchcraft led him to kill a Georgia nurse in 2001 on Tuesday became the sixth federal inmate executed by lethal injection this year.

William Emmett LeCroy, 50, was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m. at the Federal Correction Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana, WTWO reported.

LeCroy was convicted in connection with the murder of Joann Lee Tiesler, whom he said put a spell on him, the television station reported. LeCroy also said he believed the woman had been a former babysitter he called Tinkerbell and claimed she had sexually molested him as a child.

Prosecutors said LeCroy broke into the Cherry Log, Georgia, mountain home of Tiesler, 30, on Oct. 7, 2001, The Associated Press reported. When Tiesler entered her home, LeCroy struck her with a shotgun, bound and raped her and then slashed her throat while repeatedly stabbing her in the back.

After killing Tiesler, LeCroy realized she could not have been the person who molested him, WTWO reported.

Authorities found a note LeCroy wrote before his arrest, asking Tiesler for forgiveness, according to court filings.

“You were an angel and I killed you,” the note stated. “I am a vagabond and doomed to hell.”

Tuesday’s execution took about 20 minutes. LeCroy, who was calm as he was led to the execution chamber, said his spiritual adviser, Sister Barbara Battista, would receive his final statement through the mail. Battista, who belongs to the anti-death-penalty group Sisters of Providence, served as LeCroy’s final witness, according to the AP.

“Today justice was finally served. William LeCroy died a peaceful death in stark contrast to the horror he imposed on my daughter Joann,” the victim’s father, Tom Tiesler, said in a statement. “I am unaware that he ever showed any remorse for his evil actions, his life of crime or for the horrific burden he caused Joann’s loved ones."

Christopher Vialva, who was 19 when he murdered an Iowa couple in 1999, is scheduled to be executed Thursday, the AP reported. He would be the first Black man to be executed this year. One inmate was a Navajo; the others were white, the AP said.