On April 13, 1999, Marion Albert Pruett,49, was executed in Arkansas for the 1981 slaying of a convenience store clerk. Pruett, who murdered five people after entering the federal witness-protection program, asked God and his victims for forgiveness, then closed his eyes as he was injected. "I would also like to ask all the people that I ever hurt, and their family members, to forgive me for all the pain," he said. "And I forgive everybody for what's about to happen to me."
Pruett was sent to death row for the October 1981 killing of an Arkansas convenience store clerk -- one of three people he killed that week. While serving time in Georgia for bank robbery, he testified against another inmate in the slaying of his cellmate and was released in 1979 and placed in the protection program. He later said he committed the murder.
Pruett killed three people in a weeklong streak of terror that led him to dub himself a "mad-dog killer." Earlier in 1981, Pruett had killed his wife in New Mexico, and a Mississippi bank loan officer. He clobbered his wife,Pamela Sue Barker, with a ball peen hammer and set her body afire. Four days after killing the first convenience store clerk, Pruett killed two other store workers in Colorado.
He received life sentences for the four killings outside Arkansas, but got the death sentence for his conviction in the state. Pruett, who robbed the convenience stores before killing their clerks, said at his New Mexico trial that he was driven by a $4,000 a week cocaine habit.
A federal judge set aside Pruett's Arkansas conviction in 1997, saying pretrial publicity prevented him from receiving a fair trial. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the conviction and death sentence in 1998, saying Pruett helped generate some of the publicity by implicating himself in various crimes and giving himself his "mad-dog" nickname.