Former Marine Corps recruiter Thomas Loden, Jr. a man who has been on death row since 2001, is scheduled to be executed at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman today at 6:00 p.m.
The 58-year-old is the second inmate to be executed by Mississippi in the last decade, with the last execution taking place in November 2021.
In 2001, Loden was found guilty of capital murder, rape, and four counts of sexual battery for kidnapping, repeatedly raping, and strangling 16-year-old Leesa Marie Gray to death after discovering her stranded on the side of the road. He pled guilty to all six charges and waived his right to a trial by jury.
In addition to receiving a death sentence by the Itawamba County Circuit Court, Loden was also sentenced to 30 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for rape and 30 years for each of his four sexual battery convictions.
One week before his scheduled execution, Loden’s attorneys sought to have his execution dismissed by challenging the constitutionality of Mississippi’s three-drug lethal injection protocol, accusing it of being a form of “cruel and unusual” punishment — a violation of the Eighth Amendment if the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate denied Loden’s request on December 8, stating that Mississippi “could still resort to his execution under one of three alternative modes of execution.”
Due to Wingate’s ruling, Loden will continue to be executed through the injections of midazolam, vecuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.