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Virginia executes triple murderer

staff report • Jan 16, 2013 at 11:22 AM

JARRATT, Va. — Robert Charles Gleason Jr., the Virginia prison inmate who murdered two other inmates while incarcerated in Wise County prison facilities for a previous murder, was put to death on Wednesday.

The 42-year old Gleason spurned appeals on his behalf and asked for the death sentence. Gleason asked for and was put to death by electrocution.

Gleason was convicted of the 2009 murder of a cellmate at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap and another inmate while incarcerated at Red Onion State Prison near Pound in 2010.

During his trial for the inmate murders in Wise County Circuit Court, Gleason not only confessed under oath but provided the court with gruesome details of the slayings. He pleaded guilty to tying up his cellmate, Harvey Watson, on May 8, 2009, while at Wallens Ridge, and described how he beat and taunted Watson, finally strangling Watson to death with fabric from a torn sheet.

Gleason asked the court for the death penalty, telling the court if he wasn’t put to death he would kill again. He kept that vow with the July 28, 2010, strangling death of Aaron Cooper, an inmate at Red Onion.

Gleason and Cooper were in adjacent solitary wire recreation pens at Red Onion. Gleason enticed Cooper to come near a shared wire fence between the pens and strangled Cooper to death with a makeshift necklace. Gleason would tell the court how he laughed at the reaction of the other inmates while strangling Cooper, and he mocked the prison staff attempting to revive Cooper.

Gleason told the court he would keep killing unless and until he was put to death. Last week a federal judge upheld state court affirmations of Gleason’s death sentence from Wise County’s Circuit Court and rebuffed attempts by third party attorneys attempting to stay the execution.

Gleason was pronounced dead at 9:08 p.m. Wednesday after being placed in Virginia’s electric chair.

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