Beardslee became the 11th executed prisoner in California

California carried out its first execution in three years yesterday after Governor &to=http:// 18/88/353/12422_Schwarzenegger.html ' target=_blank>Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected a final appeal for clemency from a triple killer.

Donald Beardslee, 61, who murdered three women, was given a lethal injection shortly after midnight in San Quentin prison.

Mr Schwarzenegger earlier issued a detailed statement rejecting pleas for mercy, citing Beardslee's "grisly and senseless killings".

The &to=http:// ' target=_blank>US Supreme Court also dismissed requests for a stay of execution, reports News.Telegraph.

From the moment Beardslee was left alone in the apple-green death chamber at 12: 18 a.m., after being hooked up to the intravenous lines that would deliver three salvos of poison, to the second he was pronounced dead 11 minutes later, Beardslee mostly lay as still as a man already expired. The whole thing went by the prison handbook, with just one slight hitch -- it took a few minutes longer than usual to insert the catheters into his arms.

Thirty witnesses -- 13 reporters, two of Beardslee's legal and spiritual advisers, three relatives of Beardslee's victims and 12 unspecified "officials" invited by the state or warden -- stood or sat silently in the stuffy, semicircular observation room surrounding the octagonal death chamber. To utter a word or even sigh heavily meant being ejected by guards, but as the minutes began to crawl by, a palpable tension seemed to seep into the windowless room.

Beardslee's chest heaved with two quick sighs at 12:18 as if to say, "OK, let's get on with it." His eyelids fluttered open a brief moment, and two minutes later he yawned and smacked his lips twice. But from then on, the execution went just as it has for the previous eight lethal injections since 1996: His face turned from red to a deep, grayish blue, and the breathing gradually stopped. After 12:21 he didn't twitch a muscle. At 12:29 it was over, writes San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Beardslee was the 11th inmate to be executed at San Quentin since capital punishment was reinstated in California in 1978.

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