Mom Raises Money to Watch Daughter's Killer Die

(Image Credit: Courtesy KELO-TV/AP Photo)

Friends, family members and strangers have helped Tina Curl's grim dream come to fruition-to watch the man who raped and murdered her 9-year-old daughter be strapped to a gurney, fight for his final breath as lethal drugs course through his veins.

Curl, 50, spent months raising money for the trip from New York to South Dakota where she'll get a "front row seat" to watch Donald Moeller be executed. The execution could happen any time between today and Nov. 3.

"I have waited 22 long years for this," Curl, who has arrived in Sioux Falls, S.D., told during her fundraising drive. "He watched her die and I am going to watch him die."

Becky O'Connell went to the convenience store to buy candy on May 8, 1990. The following morning, her body was found in a wooded area in Lincoln County, S.D.

An autopsy found Becky had been raped vaginally and anally and died of a cut to the jugular vein of her neck, according to court documents.

Curl and her husband, Dave, who was Becky's stepfather, had lived in South Dakota for five months at the time of the murder. The couple later relocated to Lake Luzerne, N.Y.

"After this she wasn't going to stay in that state," said Rhonda Springer, a longtime friend of Curl who is helping to spearhead the fundraiser to send Tina and Dave Curl to South Dakota to witness the execution.

The Curl family is driving 1,400 miles from their home in New York since Tina Curl said she has a bad heart and is unable to fly.

The couple said they would go if they could raise between $3,000 to $4,000, which they estimated would cover their gas and stay in a motel during the one week time frame when Moeller is scheduled to die.

Tina Curl said she receives a $721 disability check each month that "doesn't even cover the bills." Dave Curl is currently laid off and looking for work.

Although a one week window has been set for Moeller's execution, the actual date of lethal injection is at the warden's discretion, with 48 hours' notice required, Curl said.

"It means everything," she said. "I ain't only doing it for me. I am doing it for Becky."

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