Victim#8217;s sister to attend execution

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Douglas Grant

For nearly a decade, Beth Willis has lived with the fact that her sister, Angela “Renee” Felton, is dead, killed by Dexter Lee Vinson, Felton’s former boyfriend, in 1997.

Tonight, Willis will travel from Richmond to the Greenville Correctional Facility in Jarratt to attend the scheduled execution of her younger sister’s killer, and in doing so, she hopes to find some kind of an end to the ordeal.


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“At first I wasn’t going to go,” said Willis. “But the more I thought about it … seeing my sister’s body and what he did to her, I won’t have any closure without going. And I am afraid I’d regret it if I didn’t go.”

Vinson, 42, was convicted in 1999 of the murder of Felton. He was also found guilty of several other charges related to her death.

He is slated to die by lethal injection at 9 tonight, barring any intervention from state or federal authorities.

Vinson’s lawyers told the News-Herald Tuesday that they have petitioned the governor for clemency, and asked that he commute Vinson’s sentence to life in prison. They are basing that request on evidence they say was never presented in their client’s murder trial.

They have also petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a similar review and possible stay of execution, should the justices agree to reopen the case.

There is also an attempt by Vinson to file a lawsuit, claiming the way the lethal drugs are administered will cause him “tortuous” pain.

Those attempts to delay or stop the execution don’t concern Willis.

“I know he’s the one,” she said. “There is no doubt he did it; there’s too much evidence (against him to overturn the conviction or reopen the case).”

Willis said she has not given any consideration to the possibility of another trial, other than to say she hopes it never comes to that.

She said she wants to see everything go as planned tonight.

“I personally hope he goes, and is not a case where he makes some kind of statement.”

She said executing Vinson is the right thing to do.

“An eye for an eye, like it says in the Bible,” she said. “He’s not going to get anything like he did to her. You just can’t understand what my family, and her kids, are going through.”

Willis will be accompanied by her husband and father.