July 14, 1989
Atmore, Alabama
Horace Dunkins Jr. is executed for tying a woman to a tree, raping her, and stabbing her nearly 70 times

Dunkins’ victim was 26-year-old mother of four Lynn McCurry. In 1980, Dunkins and an accomplice, Frank Harris, claimed to be interested in purchasing a go-cart McCurry was selling. When she turned away from them to get a key, Dunkins placed a knife to her throat and, with her oldest two children watching (approximately 6 and 8 years old), tied her to a tree, raped her, and stabbed her to death, leaving her to die.

During trial, Dunkins’ mental capacity was not mentioned (he had an IQ of 69 and the reasoning of a 12-year-old). At least one juror later said, had that information been shared, she would not have voted for the death penalty. He was executed in the electric chair, though the initial jolt did not kill him as the chair was improperly set up. The second burst of electricity, 9 minutes after the first, was successful, though the botched execution and mishandling of important evidence regarding Dunkins’ diminished mental capacity brought controversy to the case.

Harris, Dunkins’ accomplice, received a life sentence.

Headline: The Anniston Star, July 23, 1989

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