PARCHMAN – Thomas Edwin Loden Jr. expressed remorse to the victim’s family for his crimes in a final statement before execution Wednesday by lethal injection at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton pronounced Loden, 58, dead at 6:12 p.m. CST. The Mississippi Department of Corrections carried out the order of the Mississippi Supreme Court issued on November 17 after all appeals had been exhausted.
Loden expressed “how deeply remorseful I am for everything,” addressing the victim’s family. He ended with “I love you” spoken in Japanese and directed at his loved ones.
“If I can only erase the past, I know my mere words will mean nothing. For the past 20 years, I have tried to do one good deed a day to replace the good that I know my actions took from this world. If anything today, I hope you get peace and closure,” Loden said.
Two members of the victim’s family witnessed the execution but did not make a statement afterwards. Two people witnessed the execution on Loden’s behalf per his request. His remains were scheduled for release to Glenwood Funeral Home in Vicksburg.
Commissioner Burl Cain said there were no problems with the execution and Loden did not offer resistance as he was escorted from a cell.
“He went in peacefully to the room and cooperated [with officers]. It was a normal process as far as you can call it normal. His breath got short and he quivered his lips. His eyes remained open. The process worked perfectly,” Commissioner Cain said. “He was sorry for what he had done so he did the right thing with that.”
Loden was observed as upbeat during the hours leading up to the execution while visiting with a chaplain and other prison officials.
“He seemed to be in good spirits and was very satisfied with the way he had been treated,” Executive Deputy Commissioner Karei McDonald said. “He wanted to make sure that we told everyone that he was very appreciative of the staff here and how they treated him up to today and today. He was very appreciative of the MDOC in general and how this has been handled.”
At 4 p.m., Loden was served his final meal consisting of two bone-in breaded and fried pork chops, baked sweet potato with butter, fried okra, Pillsbury grand biscuits with butter and molasses, peach cobbler with French vanilla ice cream, Lipton sweet tea, salt and pepper. He also shared peach preserves with MSP Superintendent Marc McClure. Officials said Loden ate most of the meal.
Also during the 48 hours leading to his execution, Loden visited with family and friends, a mental health professional, and two attorneys.
MDOC prepared for the execution with drills. The most recent mock execution, Dec. 7, was the last of three weekly drills. “We do it on a monthly basis. We’ve done it more regularly here leading up to this so we’re pretty confident that we should have a successful and smooth execution,” Deputy Commissioner for Institutions Jeworski Mallett said.
Loden was sentenced to death in Itawamba County Circuit Court on Sept, 21, 2001, for capital murder of a 16-year old girl. He was also sentenced to 30 years for rape and to 30 years for sexual battery.
Mississippi’s Death Row now has 35 inmates – 34 males and one female.
Commissioner Burl Cain, center, addressed the media following completion of the execution of Thomas Loden.
He was joined by Deputy Commissioner for Institutions Jeworski Mallett and Executive Deputy Commissioner Karei McDonald.