Interview With an Executioner

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Givens described to ABC News the sometimes wrenching mental and emotional preparation that would precede each of his executions -- days seared so deeply into his psyche that he can still recite the dates.

"To make that transformation from corrections officer to executioner … it was hard,'' he said. "You have to get away from yourself. You have to eliminate yourself."

The nights and days following the executions were equally challenging, he claimed.

Going back to his regular job, returning home to a wife he loved dearly but who he chose to keep completely in the dark about the executions, turned him into an emotional "yo-yo'' at times, he said.

In the time since he left the job -- after a 2000 conviction on perjury and money-laundering charges stemming from cars he bought on behalf of a convicted drug dealer who was a childhood friend of his -- he has changed his mind about the efficacy of capital punishment.

"If the jury, if you let the [jury] foreman be the executioner, than I think they'd give a second thought about execution,'' he said. "If you let the judge be the executioner, I think he would give a second thought about sending somebody to be executed."

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