July 14, 2006
Several years of waiting all come down to this: a final punishment for two senseless crimes.
Tonight, a mother watched as a murderer was executed. But her pain may not die with her son's killer.
The execution of William "Junior" Downs has been carried out. At 6:17 tonight, he was pronounced dead by the Department of Corrections in Columbia in South Carolina's 35th execution.
It's a crime that has shaken North Augusta for seven long years...and it took less than twenty minutes to execute the man responsible.
After brutally raping and murdering two young boys, William "Junior" Downs took his last breath.
"At 6:05 he closed his eyes," said media witness J.R. Berry of WLTX-TV in Columbia. "By 6:10 I did not notice him breathing at all. I didn't see any movement."
Berry heard no last words from Downs, instead, complete silence from a man who once spent hours upon hours apologizing to the families of 10 year old James Porter and 6 year old Keenan O'Mailia.
"When Junior admitted to killing James, that told me then that my son was really gone and he wasn't coming back," said James Porter's mother, Kathy Favors.
Kathy was also among the eleven witnesses at the capital punishment facility where Downs received two injections.
The first injection put him to sleep, and the second stopped his heart.
"It appeared that chemicals began flowing through tubing that was going through the wall that was behind his head," recalled Meg Kinnard of the Associated Press.
Minutes later, media representative Brenda Reed read the Department of Correction's official announcement:
"The sentencing in the case of the State v. William Downs, Safekeeper No. 6007, was carried out at 6:17 p.m."
They're words Kathy favors has waited fifteen years to hear, and it's a sight she's waited fifteen years to see.
Among today's witnesses were Richmond County district attorney Danny Craig, Aiken solicitor Barbara Morgan, Lt. Joe Count of the Aiken County Sheriff's Department, who was the lead investigator in Keenan's case, and Kathy, who sat in for Keenan's mom.
William Downs and Carla German traveled from Florida to watch their brother be put to rest.