Ricky Ray Rector was born on January 12, 1950 and grew up in Conway, Arkansas. He was an odd kid with few friends. His father was abusive and he suffered from a learning disability.
On March 21, 1981, Ricky became angry when a friend was refused admission to the dance hall at Tommy’s Old-Fashioned Home-Style Restaurant. He shot 3 men, injuring 2 and killing Arthur Criswell who was shot in the head. Ricky fled the scene in a friend’s car and hid out in the woods and with family members.
After speaking with his sister, Ricky agreed to turn himself in to a police officer named Robert Martin, a childhood friend. They agreed to meet at the home of Ricky’s mother on March 24. As Robert spoke with her, Ricky shot him in the back and ran out of the house. Ricky then turned the gun on himself. He was taken to the hospital, but the shot had cause irreparable brain damage. 1/3 of his brain had to be removed. Robert died from his wounds.
Once healed from what was essentially a lobotomy, Ricky was put on trial for both murders. His defense tried to argue that he wasn’t competent to stand trial. His attorneys claimed that Ricky’s IQ was 70, but there was evidence to prove that his diminished intelligence was a direct consequence of his suicide attempt. They tried to prove that he didn’t know what death was and didn’t understand that the people he had murdered weren’t still living.
He was sentenced to death by electrocution.
In prison, Ricky was afraid of the dark and would scream when the lights were turned out at night.
Ricky’s last meal was fried chicken, steak and Kool-Aid. He was also brought a piece of pecan pie. He didn’t eat it, telling the guards that he was “saving it for later.”
By January 24, 1992, the date of his schedule execution, lethal injection had become the standard. Ricky was strapped to the gurney a little after 9pm, but it took the execution team almost an hour to find a vein. He died at the age of 42.
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