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April 23, 2014

Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.

William Rousan's last words were, "My trials and transgressions have been many. But thanks be to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, I have a new home in his heavenly kingdom."

Before dying, Rousan, 57, mouthed words to his brother-in-law and a minister he had invited. As the drug was administered, Rousan breathed deeply twice and then was still. He was declared dead at 12:10 a.m., nine minutes after the procedure started.

Michael Lewis, the son of the slain couple, Charlie and Grace Lewis, spoke afterward.

"I draw no real satisfaction from Mr. Rousan's incarceration or execution, for neither can replace or restore the moments lost with my parents or give my sons back the grandparents they never got to know," he said.

According to prosecutors, Rousan, his teenage son, Brent Rousan, and his brother, Robert Rousan, murdered Charles and Grace Lewis on Sept. 21, 1993, at their farm near Bonne Terre. Rousan lived in the same area of St. Francois County, about 70 miles southwest of St. Louis.

Authorities say the three men drove by the farm, and William Rousan pointed out the cattle to steal. They parked about two miles away and hiked through the woods to the farm. They watched as the couple returned home. Charles Lewis, 67, began cutting the lawn with a riding mower while his wife, 62, spoke to the couple's daughter on the phone.

Brent Rousan, then 16, ambushed Charles Lewis, shooting him six times. Grace Lewis told her daughter on the phone she heard gunfire and stepped outside to check on the commotion. Brent Rousan shot her several times. She managed to go back into the home, but William Rousan followed her, placed a garment bag over her head and carried her outside.

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