Frantic Final Hours

A convicted killer dies amid claims of innocence and cries of indignation

THERE HAVE BEEN 18 EXECUTIONS IN THE U.S. SO FAR this year. But none as controversial as the case of Roger Keith Coleman. Denied clemency by Governor Douglas Wilder, Coleman was placed in a Virginia electric chair last week for the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law Wanda Fay McCoy. Nearly 15,000 Americans besieged the Governor's office with calls and letters opposing the execution. In the days preceding his death, Coleman's attorneys waged a frantic attempt to gain him an appeal but were refused by two courts. Coleman himself passed these final hours pleading his case to a receptive press....

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