Everyone's A Victim in This

A family man who "flipped out" is executed in Louisiana

They seemed unlikely protagonists for a tragedy. Sterling Rault, an outgoing and likable accountant for a New Orleans gas pipeline company, was married to his high school sweetheart and was the father of two children. Jane (Janie) Francioni, a slight, happy-go-lucky girl who delighted in lunching on Saturdays with her grandparents and aunts, was a 21-year-old clerk in the same office.

Both had joined the Louisiana Energy & Development Corp. in 1981. Francioni arrived in April; she got the job on a tip from a friend after dropping out of Louisiana State University. She took to the work. "I think I've...

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