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CNN Today

Reporter Who Witnessed Graham Execution Discusses It

Aired June 23, 2000 - 2:38 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Activists Jesse Jackson and Bianca Jagger witnessed the Graham execution, and so did reporter Lloyd Gite, of CNN Houston affiliate KRIV.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LLOYD GITE, KRIV: Of the five media representatives chosen to view the execution of Gary Graham, I was the only television reporter selected. When we arrived in the death chamber, Graham was already strapped to the gurney. It was apparent that he fought went prison officials as he had promised. He was handcuffed to the gurney, unlike other prisoners. His shirt was ripped and his arm appeared to be bruised. Before dying, Graham spoke to witnesses for six and a half minutes. He told us that he was innocent in the killing of Bobby Lambert. He called his execution an illegal lynching and called for a moratorium on the death penalty. He called his execution genocide, and said that's what happens to black men. He also said such killings are a holocaust for black people in America. Graham also said Blacks will endure 100 more years of lynchings if they don't do something.

During the execution, Jesse Jackson weeped and Bianca Jagger sobbed, They also prayed for Graham. After the drugs were administered, seconds later Graham was dead. He told me in one of his last interviews he was not focused on dying. He also called the nation's penal institution racist .

GARY GRAHAM, CONVICTED OF MURDER: I'm Sick and tired of these racist executions that are happening here in Texas. We're sick and tired of injustice within the current justice system.

GITE: Graham went to death row at 17. At 36, he died. Before taking his last breath, he told blacks to keep fighting because the struggle for equal rights is far from over. He also said his murder will be avenged.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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