A man who killed a rookie police officer in a 1983 drive-by slaying was executed by injection early today, bidding farewell to his lawyer with the words, "I'll see you when I see you."
The man, Robert South, 51, swallowed twice and his mouth slowly opened as he lost consciousness in the death chamber at Broad River prison.
Mr. South was convicted in the April 12, 1983, slaying of a West Columbia police officer, Daniel Cogburn. The 29-year-old officer was sitting in his squad car writing a traffic ticket when Mr. South shot him from a passing pickup truck.
The years on death row wore on Mr. South, and in a letter last year he advised his lawyer to cease all appeals. "It was a feeling of futility, primarily," said Teresa Norris, a lawyer who represented Mr. South last year.
Mr. South was the second man executed in South Carolina in the past 10 months. The last one was Sylvester Adams on Aug. 18.
West Columbia Police Department
End of Watch: Tuesday, April 12, 1983
Tour of Duty: 4 days
Badge Number: 25
Cause of Death:
Date of Incident: Tuesday, April 12, 1983
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Executed in 1996
Officer Cogburn was shot and killed by a suspect while writing a traffic ticket. The shooter had nothing to do with the traffic stop and fired out of the car window as he drove by the vehicles. The suspect was apprehended and executed for the crime in 1996.
Officer Cogburn had been with the agency for only four days and was survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons, father, brother, and sister.