New England: first execution in 45 years

Connecticut prison officials put serial killer Michael Ross to death on Friday as capital punishment opponents mourned liberal New England's first execution in 45 years.

Ross was administered a &to=http:// ' target=_blank>chemical cocktail at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut shortly after 2 a.m. EST (0600 GMT), said state officials. The drugs sedated him, paralyzed his muscles, and stopped his heart.

The 45-year-old Cornell University graduate hastened his own execution last year when he waived his remaining appeals, saying he wanted his death to serve as closure for his victims' families. He made no statement before his death.

Several hundred death penalty opponents held a vigil near the Osborn facility, many of them praying aloud and expressing disgust at the return of capital punishment to &to=http:// ' target=_blank>New England after nearly a half-century absence, reports Reuters.

According to the Washington Times, Ross was given a lethal injection at Osborn Correctional Institute in Somers, Conn., at 2:25 a.m. Friday, just one month before the 21st anniversary of his final killing, the Norwich Bulletin reported.

"Today is a day no one truly looked forward to -- but then no one looked forward to the brutal, heinous deaths of those eight young girls," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a statement minutes after the execution. "I hope that there is at least some measure of relief and closure for their families."

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