Reporter Gets to Know VA Death-Row Prisoner: “He Was Likable and Reprehensible”


Associated Press reporter Dena Potter in Virginia writes about conversations she had with death row prisoner Robert Gleason Jr., who was executed last week. “He was playful and vicious, a protector and a predator,” Potter says. “He was likable and reprehensible. He sent Christmas cards and made me laugh on a bad day. He was also a killer. And on Wednesday night, I watched him die.”

Potter says, “He went out on his own terms, choosing 1,800 volts of electricity over lethal injection, partly because he didn't want to go lying down.” She writes, “It's easy to call Gleason a monster. I'm not even sure those who knew and loved him would disagree. He killed at least three men — strangling the last two while locked up in the state's most secure prisons. He'd been imprisoned for killing a man whose son was cooperating with the probe of a drug ring he was involved in.”

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