North Carolina Department of Correction news release

APRIL 20, 1998


RALEIGH - Central Prison Warden James B. French named the six official witnesses and five media witnesses for the April 24 execution of Wendell Flowers.

The official witnesses are William D. Kenerly, L.M. Wilhelm, John Lookabill, and Terry Agner of Salisbury, Rick L. Jackson of Polkton, and Paul D. Brown of Kannapolis.

Media witnesses are John Patterson from the Salisbury Post, Chuck Hubbard from the Wilkes Journal Patriot, Estes Thompson from the Associated Press, Trey Hardison from WXLV-TV in Winston-Salem, and Bob Costner from WSJS Radio in Winston-Salem.

Flowers is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at Central Prison at 2 a.m., Fri. April 24. The Rowan County Superior Court sentenced Flowers to death on Oct. 6, 1994 for the murder of inmate Rufus Coley Watson, Jr. at Piedmont Correctional Institution.

Under Department of Correction policy, the district attorney and sheriff in the county of conviction nominate the official witnesses. The six official witnesses will witness the execution and then sign an affidavit of execution.

The North Carolina Press Association and the Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas each select two media witnesses. The media witnesses will relate their experience to reporters waiting in Central Prison's visitors center.

Nine people have been executed since 1977 when the death penalty was reinstated. James W. Hutchins of McDowell County was executed March 16, 1984. Velma Barfield of Bladen County was executed Nov. 2, 1984. John W. Rook of Wake County was executed Sept. 19, 1986. Michael V. McDougall of Mecklenburg County was executed Oct. 18, 1991. John S. Gardner Jr. of Forsyth County was executed Oct. 23, 1992. David Lawson of Cabarrus County was executed June 15, 1994. Kermit Smith of Halifax County was executed January 24, 1995. Phillip Ingle of Rutherford County was executed Sept. 22, 1995. Ricky Lee Sanderson of Davidson County was executed Jan. 30, 1998.