Not in My Name

...but they're dead just the same...

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#35 - Joseph Carl Shaw - SC - 1/11/1985

He blamed his violence on drug use.  Wonder what he blamed his necrophilia on?

Victims:   B
etty Swank (21)              10/17/1977
                 Thomas Taylor (17)          10/29/1977
                 Carlotta Hartness (14)     10/29/1977

Codefendants:  James Terry Roach - Executed 1/10/1986
                            Ronald Eugene Mahaffey - Sentenced to Life.

Shaw was the first person to be put to death by the State of South Carolina after the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the use of capital punishment by the states in 1976.

Known by his nickname of "J.C.", Shaw grew up in the small town of Jeffersontown, Kentucky. He attended St. Edward Catholic grade school, where he served as an altar boy and played tackle on the football team. After leaving St. Edward he moved on to Jeffersontown High School, but dropped out before graduating.

He married Karen Neigrich but the relationship didn't last long, and J.C. moved on to join the U.S. Army as a military policeman.

It was during this period in 1977 that Shaw committed the crimes which would land him on South Carolina's death row. Shaw and two teenaged accomplices, James Terry Roach, 17, and Ronald Mahaffey, 16, participated in the murders of three people in Columbia, SC.

The first victim was a fellow serviceman's wife, Betty Swank, who was raped and then killed.

The other two victims were a teenaged couple, Taylor and Hartness. Hartness was raped repeatedly before being killed.

Shaw allegedly returned to the scene of the crime over a period of several days to have sex with the corpse.

In his final statement, the 29-year-old condemned man thanked his family, religious counselors, attorneys and well-wishers and apologized to his victims' families.

But he also said: "To all those who sought my death and to Gov. (Richard) Riley (who refused his clemency pleas), I hope you learn from your mistake. Killing was wrong when I did it. It is wrong when you do it.   May God bless and forgive you all."

Shaw received the death penalty for the Taylor-Hartness slayings and a life sentence for Swank's death.

Stephen Bright of Atlanta, Shaw's chief lawyer, said the condemned man was calm throughout his final hours and even joked with those around him as he was being prepared for the execution.

Shaw spent Thursday in a death house holding cell playing Trivial Pursuit with his mother, stepfather and two half-brothers. He ate a last meal of pizza and tossed salad.

Roach has also been executed.

Mahaffey testified against the other two in exchange for a lighter sentence.  Mahaffey is serving a life term in prison.


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