California executes oldest condemned inmate

&to=' target=_blank>California executed its oldest condemned inmate early Tuesday for arranging a triple murder 25 years ago to silence witnesses in another killing.

Clarence Ray Allen, was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 12:38 a.m. (0838 GMT) at San Quentin State Prison, less than an hour after his 76th birthday ended at midnight. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had rejected pleas for clemency.

Allen, who was mostly blind and deaf, could not walk, and suffered a nearly fatal heart attack in September only to be revived and returned to death row, was assisted into the death chamber by four correctional officers shortly after midnight.

Though legally blind, Allen raised his head to search among execution witnesses for relatives he had invited.

"Hoka hey, it's a good day to die," Allen said in a nod to his Choctaw Indian heritage minutes before he died. "Thank you very much, I love you all. Goodbye."

He received the first of three injections at 12:20 a.m. (0820 GMT).

He then was given an extra dose of potassium chloride, the lethal chemical that stops the heart, at 12:35 a.m. (0835 GMT), and died minutes later, according to Corrections Department spokeswoman Elaine Jennings.

"It's not unusual, this guy's heart had been going for 76 years," said Warden Stephen Ornoski.

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