The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 1, 1998 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 1, 1998
Page 8
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WEDNESDAY. APRIL 1, 1998 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL REMETA EXECUTION Killer goes to death quietly Remeta doesn't get snow cone for last meal as he requested By MIKE CORN '•Hays Dally News ;' ; STARKE, Fla. — Daniel ' Remeta spent a quiet night in the '. X-wing of the Florida State i Prison in Starke. i, r He visited with family and • friends and his spiritual adviser from 7 p.m. to midnight. And he had his last meal, an unusual request that could not be fulfilled because of the lateness of the request — a snow cone. Prison officials were not able to provide one, so the prison food •i idirector went to a nearby convenience store and purchased two :44-ounce Icees — one Mountain Dew and one Pepsi. Remeta consumed both. Prison officials then brought in the standard last meal, bet 'cause he failed to request anything else. The meal included a New York , «trip steak, cooked medium well, . a baked potato, two eggs over - .easy, a cup of orange juice and four slices of toast. ;'" He ate half the steak and pota- •to, one of the two eggs and two of ;; the four slices of toast. Remeta visited throughout the jiight with his spiritual adviser, C. Randall Daniels-Sakim. . At 7 a.m. — 6 a.m. Central time r— Remeta was escorted to the execution chamber, a room that is di- 'Vided by Plexiglas to separate 'where the witnesses are seated and 'where the electric chair is located. Remeta showed signs of confi- ,dence and had no trouble walking. ,He looked straight ahead, nodding The Associated Press Death penalty protester Shanti Vanl, Gainesville, Fla., stands outside the prison Tuesday as Daniel Remeta Is put to death. slightly at Daniels-Sakim. But for the most part, Remeta watched as he was strapped into the large chair. The electrode was placed on his right leg, and the metal head piece was placed on his shaved head. His fingers were not tapping, and he didn't look at the witnesses. The prison warden started to carry a microphone to Remeta so that he could make a final statement if he choose to do so. But before the warden could reach him, Remeta declined with an inaudible response. The warden then went to a phone, checking with the governor's office to ensure that no stays had been filed in the case. There were none. The warden nodded to the nine prison officials who were in the room and the executioner, who flipped a switch. The executioner then turned a dial, opening the flow of current to the prisoner. Electricity started flowing through Remeta's body at 7:06 a.m. Remeta's fists clinched, his chest lifted, and there was a small amount of smoke from his right leg, where the electrode was attached — the current burning his flesh. A medical technician checked Remeta for three minutes. Then, a prison doctor checked for a pulse and checked his eyes. He was pronounced dead at 7:12 a.m. Outside the prison, a smaller- than-normal crowd of anti-death penalty protesters stood in a grassy field. "My husband is only guilty of being a true warrior, standing up for his beliefs," his wife, Judy, said in a statement read outside Florida State Prison by Remeta's niece, Antonia Hoover. Seven nieces and nephews gathered in a circle in a field across from the north Florida prison. They put cedar, sage and tobacco on a small fire as flute music played on a CD player at about the time the execution was taking place. They held a sign that said: "Ride your spirit pony Uncle Danny." There were also the more traditional signs from death penalty opponents. Doug Martin of the Gainesville Sun and The Associated Press contributed to this story. Remeta / Execution saddens minister FROM PAGE A1 Few in northwest Kansas were untouched by the murders. Jerry Fairbanks, a Goodland attorney who was appointed by the court to represent Remeta in Kansas, said his job was diffi- ;cult. •• "But we all believe in the system we have and once you're appointed, you do the best job you •can," he said. "I've practiced law " 23 years out here, and I can't think of anybody who held it against me that I represented Danny Remeta." Fairbanks said he does not .support the death penalty, but "I can't say it wouldn't be appropriate" in Remeta's case. " ' "If prisons are for rehabilitation, I can't even imagine Danny ; ; Remeta being rehabilitated." ' 'Gel rid of the bitterness' The Rev. Gene Jones, who for . the past two decades has con• ^ducted a prison ministry from 'his home in Colby and called iGlenn Moore his friend, talked •with Remeta during his time in northwest Kansas. He was sad- ''' .dened by his death. , j, "Danny got what he was ask' ing for. He was guilty. He admit- ted that to me. He killed my friend. He killed a lot of people's friends," Jones said. "But I don't think man should kill anything God created. I think people should get rid of the bitterness because as long as you're bitter, it's going to eat you alive. We can't go to our graves with bitterness in our hearts." Jones said he knew Remeta only after he was lost. "I really feel that if someone had got to Danny years ago there wouldn't have been this bloody mess," he said. "That's why I still work with young people in prison. Maybe I can help them before they get too deep into trouble. Danny was already in too deep. About all I could do was get him to accept the Lord as his savior." 'Glad it was finally over' Retired Thomas County Judge Keith Willoughby, who presided at the court hearings for Remeta and his companions, said the last minute appeals of the past few days were hard on Colby. "I was glad it was finally over," he said of Tuesday's execution. "Every time there was a setback, it really upset people out here. Every time we had a story about it here, the victims' families were really put through a lot. I'm glad we finally have some closure." Ben Albright, who was Thomas County undersheriff at the time of the murders, left Colby in 1991 for Bullhead City, Ariz., where he works as a probation officer. Albright was seriously wounded and left for dead in the 1985 rampage after he stopped a car carrying Remeta and his companions at the Levant exit on Interstate 70. He watched news of the execution on television. "I don't know how I feel about this. It's not a good feeling, but it's something that needed to be done," Albright said later in the day. "We've tried to put this behind us so many times." 'One minute at a time' Melda Moore said the 13 years since her husband's death have been a struggle. In addition to running Glenn Moore's business, the 61-year-old widow works as a nurse's aide at a Colby nursing home. In part, she credits her survival to a belief in the "Serenity Prayer," which teaches the pow- er of acceptance, courage and wisdom. "I'm not the first person who had to go through all of this, and I probably won't be the last," Melda Moore said. "It's something you learn to cope with. You just take one minute at a time. You never forget, but at least you can put it in the back of your mind." Moore said the only anger she has left is directed at Lisa Dunn, who was with Remeta when he committed his crimes. Dunn was found guilty by a Thomas County jury and later acquitted in a second trial in Topeka in 1992 after claiming she was a battered woman. Dunn returned to her home in Traverse City, Mich., where she faces trial May 20 for embezzling thousands of dollars from a psychologist for whom she worked as a bookkeeper. "I believe she was as guilty as Remeta, even though she didn't pull the trigger," Moore said. "She was no little innocent. I feel like I'm at ease and at peace with Remeta, but I'm still angry at Lisa Dunn. "I'll be watching May 20. I'd like to hear what's going to happen to her." T NAVY JET CRASH -T DIET PILLS ;Brief use of Redux won't damage heart, study finds By The Associated Press • • ATLANTA — A large study re- lie^ised Tuesday found no sign that brief use of the diet pill Redux caused dangerously leaky heart '.valves, as many feared when the 'in^dicine was withdrawn from the s t»arket in September. ! ''' "fhe study, conducted at George- "tjijwn University, appears to largely/exonerate Redux, a prescription , appetite suppressant. It found the ,medicine is no more likely than sugar pills to seriously harm the •heart during the two or three months that most people took it. However, it did not rule out the possibility that taking Redux for m£ny months — as the drug was intended to be used — could have ,h\armed people. It also did not examine whether the chemically sim- ,ilar phen-fen, which was pulled from drugstores at the same time as Redux, is bad for the heart valves, "These results should be reas- suring for the majority of patients who have been on Redux," said Dr. Neil Weissman, who directed the study. His study is the first large, carefully controlled experiment to see whether Redux truly caused the damage that many suspected. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, which makes Redux and fenflu- ramine — the fen of phen-fen — pulled both drugs off the market at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, The government acted after a Mayo Clinic team reported 24 cases of heart valve problems among people taking phen-fen. Government agencies eventually gathered several hundred cases of damaged heart valves among people taking phen-fen and Redux. Such reports cannot prove that the diet pills actually caused the valve damage. However, the FDA estimated that one-third of people taking the diet pills could have suffered significant heart valve damage as a result. r i i i i *2off * 20# bags or larger, ' cases of 14 3/4 oz. cans. One coupon per customer. Offer expires 5-22-98. A better life through nutrient precision.™ I 785-825-0811 [^1449 W. Hwy-40 WALCO INTERNATIONAL, INC. "Serving Oie Animal Health Industry" Located across from the sale barn. FAIR HOUSING SEMINAR presented by the SALINA HUMAN RELATIONS DEPARTMENT JVENING SESSi Thursday, April 9th 6:30 to 9 p.m. •••••••••••i Speakers will give information on: • Minimum Housing Code Issues & Helpful Hints • Requirements of the Fair Housing Law • Disability Issues in Housing Refreshments will be available. There is NO registration This is a FREE seminar For further information, call the Salina Human Relations Department 785-826-7330 or stop in Room 101, City-County Courthouse. Grant funds from HUD were utilized to give this presentation. Abilene native hurt in crash of Navy jet Mother in Salina glad to hear injuries weren't serious as jet goes down From Staff and Wire Reports A man who grew up south of Abilene and three other Navy crew members escaped with minor injuries when their anti-submarine warfare jet crashed at sea Tuesday, the Navy said. Petty Officer 2nd class Mark Wendell, 26, suffered a puncture wound in his sinus canal and some bruises, said his mother, Brenda Wendell, a longtime Abilene resident who moved to Salina a few months ago. As the twin-engine S-3B Viking went down about 8:30 a.m., four parachutes were spotted and rescue helicopters retrieved the crew, said Lt. Chris Sims, a Navy spokesman in Washington. The cause of the crash was under investigation. The pilot, Lt. Robert Fryer, Richland, Wash., was expected to be released Tuesday from Balboa Naval Hospital. The others were in stable condition at the same hospital and were to remain there overnight for observation, said Capt. Greg Hartung, a Navy spokesman in San Diego. The other crewmen were identified as Lt. Cmdr. Paul Ljuba, a Naval flight officer in training from Newark, Del.; trainee and Petty Officer 3rd class Brian Vaughn of El Paso, Texas. Wendell found out about the crash after her daughter called. The Navy didn't have Brenda's phone number because she moved only two months ago. "She said to me, 'Mom, take a deep breath,' " Wendell said. "It knocked my socks off. I called out there right away, and they said he was hurting but OK. I will maybe be able to rest a little bit tonight," Three of the men were able to hoist themselves into their life rafts before being picked up, while the fourth was plucked from the water by military rescue workers. The plane, which was on a training mission, went down south of San Clemente Island, about 35 miles west of Point Loma. 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