Death row inmate asks to be executed after fighting sentence for years: ‘This is the only option’

Alabama death row inmate Derrick Dearman asked to be executed despite having fought his death sentence for over five years. He pleaded guilty to capital murder charges in the grizzly 2016 killings of five people, including a pregnant woman.

He first appealed his execution in October 2018, just over two years after what court records called an “especially heinous” and “atrocious” attack that left five dead, as well as an unborn child. Dearman broke into a Citronelle, Alabama, home and slaughtered his victims one by one before fleeing the scene.

A photo provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department shows Derrick Dearman, a suspect in the Saturday massacre of five adults in Citronelle, Alabama. (George County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

“I don’t want to die,” Dearman told CNN in an interview from prison. “But I feel it in my heart that this is the only option that would help the victims’ families get the closure they need to move forward.”

After dropping his appeal, he said it was time for “justice to be delivered” and that executing him is “the right thing to do.” He said he has made peace with his decision.

Dearman used an ax, a .45 pistol, and a shotgun to kill Shannon Randall, Robert Brown, Justin Reed, Joseph Turner, and Chelsea Reed, who was five months pregnant. He knew his victims before the Aug. 20, 2016, attack.

Three days before the murders, Dearman was at the Citronelle home to help scrap a metal trailer. His behavior reportedly made Randall uncomfortable, prompting her to say she didn’t want him staying “in the same home as her infant” but that he could still work at the house.

After returning to a home he shared with his girlfriend, he injected methamphetamine and became abusive toward her, according to court records. Dearman’s girlfriend fled to the house in Citronelle the next day.

Dearman went back to the Citronelle home four times in the same day, demanding to speak to his girlfriend, leading Randall’s husband, Turner, to call authorities. 

When police left, Dearman returned to the house on foot. He broke into the home, woke up his sleeping girlfriend, and spoke with her outside. He then returned to the house with an ax and slashed Turner and Randall, who were sleeping in bed with their infant son, whom he did not kill.

Dearman then pried a .45 pistol from the hands of one of his victims and shot him. He “meticulously shot each victim to ensure death,” court records say.

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Over seven years later, the killer made the “spiritual decision” to drop his appeal.

“It’s just time to do what I know is right and what I know I gotta do,” Dearman said. “My family’s right was secured. Now, it’s time for the victims and their families to get what’s right to them and what they deserve, and that’s for justice to be delivered.”

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