LUCASVILLE — Ohio this morning executed — with no apparent complications — a serial rapist who strangled a 16-year-old Elyria girl in 1988 and whose attorneys argued he could be violently allergic to the anesthetic the state uses to put inmates to death.
Darryl Durr was pronounced dead at 10:36 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Durr clenched his fists, grimaced and held his head up for about 10 seconds before gently putting his head down. It wasn’t clear if he was in pain or emotionally reacting to the moment.
The victim’s mother, Norma Jean Godsey, who now lives in Monticello, Ky., witnessed Durr’s execution.
In what appeared to be an unusual legal maneuver, Durr’s lawyers said last week they uncovered evidence of Durr’s allergy in his 800-page prison medical record. But U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost said Durr waited too long to raise the issue, then relied mainly on speculation to ask for time to investigate.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene Monday. He was the fourth inmate executed in Ohio this year. The state is on pace to execute a record 11 inmates in 2010.
Durr kidnapped 16-year-old Angel Vincent from her home in Elyria on Jan. 31, 1988, while her mother and stepfather were away at a Super Bowl party, prosecutors said. He raped and strangled her with a dog chain and hid her body inside two orange traffic barrels placed end-to-end in a Cleveland park.
Prosecutors said Durr was obsessed with the girl.
Durr, then 24, had fathered a child with a teenage girlfriend who lived down the street from Vincent. Durr named his newborn daughter Angel and made his girlfriend model the jeans he had removed from his victim the night she was abducted, prosecutors said.
Three months later, several boys playing in the park noticed a foul odor and found Angel Vincent’s decomposed body inside the traffic barrels.
The case remained unsolved until Durr was arrested on two unrelated rapes in September 1988. His girlfriend, Deborah Mullins, came forward and told authorities that Durr had picked her up the night Vincent disappeared. Vincent was tied up in the back of the vehicle, Mullins said, and Durr said he was going to “waste” her.
Durr dropped her off at an apartment, Mullins said, then returned about four hours later and placed Vincent’s ring and bracelet on a coffee table. Durr boasted that he had strangled Vincent, Mullins said.
He was convicted largely on the testimony of Mullins, who said she waited months to tell police about the murder out of fear that Durr would harm her. Bacteria in Vincent’s decomposed body made tests for sperm and other forensic evidence inconclusive, according to a state clemency report.
Defense attorneys questioned Mullins’ credibility. But prosecutors said Mullins knew facts about the case that she could not have known without Durr telling her, including the location of Vincent’s body.
Durr pleaded guilty to the other rapes, including one in which an officer saw him attacking a girl in a car just a few feet from where he had dumped Vincent in the park, authorities said.
In his appeal over his drug allergy, Durr argued that no one knew how his body would react.
The state countered that there was no proof that an allergic reaction would occur before Durr was already deeply unconscious. The worst type of allergic reaction to anesthesia results in death from low blood pressure and impaired breathing, effects that would be irrelevant in the context of an execution, the state said.