Convicted murderer Richard Leavitt was declared dead at 10:25 this morning, executed by lethal injection. State Corrections Director Brent Reinke said, “The procedures were carried out as prescribed. … The Department of Corrections has fulfilled the obligation that the law requires and that justice demands.”
Four media witnesses who observed the execution described it as quiet and precise. “They appeared to be able to insert the IVs in both arms on the first attempt,” said AP reporter Rebecca Boone. KBOI-TV reporter Scott Logan said, “He was asked if he wanted to make a final statement. He just shook his head.” Added Logan, “I was struck by the military precision with which the escort team brought him into the chamber and the way it was carried out. I didn't see anything to suggest any problems.”
Members of the medical team wore balaclava-style coverings and goggles in addition to surgical garb. Reinke said he was satisfied that their anonymity was protected by those measures. That was an issue the state raised in objecting to allowing witness access to the early phases of the execution, including insertion of IVs; the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the First Amendment requires that representatives of the public be able to view executions in their entirety, ordered the process opened up. Reinke, asked if the big legal fight was necessary given his satisfaction with the open process, said, “In my opinion it was. We learned a lot in this process, and we took the necessary steps to make sure we had a court order before we proceeded.”
Leavitt was executed for the 1984 murder of Danette Elg of Blackfoot. Two of Elg's surviving relatives witnessed the execution; Logan, who sat behind Elg's sister, said in the final moments, as it became clear that Leavitt was dead, she nodded quietly. Leavitt's body will be cremated, and the ashes will be given to his family.