DOB 7-20-54, was sentenced to death September 15, 1983 in Fayette
County for the participation in the murder of three people with
Mitchell Willoughby, also under the death sentence.
On January 13, 1983, the two men
shot to death Jackqueline Greene, Joe Norman and Joey Durham in a
Lexington, Kentucky apartment. That night they attempted to dispose of
the bodies by throwing them from the Brooklyn Bridge in Jessamine
Fayette County in 1983, this killer, along with Mitchell Willoughby,
executed a teenage female and two male victims inside a home they were
remodeling. These killers shot the female eight times in the back of
the head. They shot the younger male five times -- in back, testicles,
right arm, left leg, and right temple. They shot the other male three
times -- in the back, the chest, and in the back of his neck.
Mitchell L. Willoughby was convicted with Leif Halvorsen of 3 counts
of murder, 2 of which brought death sentences. A codefendant, Susan
Hutchens, received a 10 year term in exchange for testifying against
the two men. The victims had been shot during a drug-related argument
at a home in Lexington, Kentucky. Two bodies were found on a bridge,
each bound to a heavey rock. A third was found in the river below the
Early one morning in 1992, a corrugated box arrived
in the mail at my Boston studio. The package turned out to be a
macabre calling card. Mitchell Willoughby, a prisoner we had written
to, had sent one of his handmade sculptures. Well crafted, it was a
miniature figure sitting in the electric chair, faithful to the
smallest detail. I was not amused. But rejecting him for his perverse
sense of humor would be missing the point. So, I wrote back.
The gift turned out of be a test. Mitchell
Wiiloughby would react to my request to photograph him depended on how
I would respond to his gift. From inside his prison, Mitchell was
trying to screen out the tourists. My letters struck the right chord.
With a minimum of preparation I was off to Eddyville, where the new
Kentucky State Penitentiary stood.
It was one of the few prisons where I was allowed
on death row. The state is very proud of its brand-new facility. Once
inside, I was introduced to everyone. Some of the inmates were dressed
in shorts & T-shirts; others, stepping out of the shower, were wrapped
only in towels. Slowly, one by one, the guards and administrators were
called away. In the commotion the metal door was closed, & I found
myself outnumbered by the prisoners.
The inmates usually busied themselves with pool,
checkers, chess, and a Universal workout machine. In the cavernous
common room, dozens of men milled around, wandering in and out of
their cells. To rid myself of the eerie feeling of being watched, I
concentrated on the work at hand. Making a subject comfortable in
front of a camera is a daunting task.
Mitchell Willoughby is a big man. He lifts weights
& practices Tae Kwon Do when no one is looking (the martial arts are
illegal in prison). Soft spoken, he didn't talk much; when he did, his
comments were usually monosyllabic.
Mitchell's partner in crime shares the same
cellblock; we talked with him briefly about his family. While we were
speaking, we were interrupted by a man who we later found out had been
on death row longer than anyone else in the United States. He had been
sentenced to die in 1960. No one has been executed in Kentucky since