Three Executions Nationwide

ByABC News
August 30, 2000, 7:44 PM

Aug. 30 -- Three condemned prisoners one repentant, the other two defiant were put to death today in a rare triple execution nationwide.

Missouri carried out the first execution today at 12:07 a.m. CT when Gary Lee Roll was put to death by lethal injection. Roll, 47, was executed for killing three members of a Cape Girardeau family during a robbery at their home in 1992. He became the third Missouri inmate put to death this yearand the 44th since the death penalty was reinstated in 1989.

Atypical Death Row Resident

Roll didnt fit the profile of a condemned killer. Unlike many on death row, he didnt grow up facing physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse. He was from a respected, hard working Cape Girardeau family. His brother became a top FBI agent in Kansas City.

Death penalty opponents often point out that many on death row are borderline mentally retarded. Roll had an IQ of 125, well above average. And he wasnt a drifter he was a Vietnam veteran who droppedout of college 10 hours short of graduation to help run the family heating and air conditioning business.

As he awaited death, Roll accepted his fate and apologized to his family and the relatives of his three victims, Sherry Scheper and her sons Randy and Curtis.

I failed my family, Roll said in his final statement. Healso expressed his remorse to the Scheper family.

Drug Path to Death RowIn an interview the day before his execution, Roll said it was a single, painful event in 1973 that turned his life down the wrong path.

Roll had dropped out of Southeast Missouri State University to volunteer for the Army at the height of the Vietnam War. Stationed in Germany, Roll suffered from six impacted teeth. An Army oralsurgeon extracted all six at once, in the process exposing a nerve in Rolls lower mouth.

The excruciating pain never went away, Roll said.

It hurts to talk about it, Roll said. It affected my life so much. It changed me.