After Downs execution, James Porter's mother a changed woman

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

Only on 12: Twelve days after William "Junior" Downs' execution, Kate Tillotson speaks with Kathy Favors and asks what she has gained from watching him die.

Downs was executed for the murder of North Augusta boy Keenan O'Mailia in 1999, but it was the mother of Downs' first victim, James Porter, who watched him take his last breath.

This is the second time Kate has spoken with Kathy. The first time was before the execution. After this second interview, it is clear that Kathy Favors is a changed woman.

It's taken fifteen years, and finally Kathy Favors is living a life without her son's killer in it.

"Since this [the execution] happened, I haven't even had no bad dreams," she says.

Just two weeks ago, Kathy witnessed the execution of William "Junior" Downs, the man who confessed to raping and murdering her ten year old son James in 1991.

It's a day she both waited for and feared.

"The whole time I sat there, I prayed to God that he had turned his life over to him, you know, and I actually sat there and prayed for that man while he was being executed."

Today, Kathy is remarried and lives in her Beech Island home surrounded by family and farm animals.

She's a much different woman than the one we spoke with just days before the execution.

During that interview, the hole in her heart was entirely exposed.

"My son was really gone and he wasn't coming back."

But now, twelve days later and with the love of her life at her side, there are no more tears.

At last, Kathy says she has come to terms with the loss of her first-born.

"All of me's glad that it's finally over," she says. "I know now that man can't ever walk this street again and hurt another kid."

While watching Downs die, Kathy says she spoke to both Keenan and James silently in her seat, telling them now they can truly rest in peace.


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