The families of Eva Washington and Zandrea Thomas say justice has been done to the man who murdered their loved ones.
The two were brutally murdered more than 14 years ago by Richard Strong in the apartment he shared with Washington in St. Ann. Last night, members of their families watched as Strong was put to death by the State of Missouri.
Washington’s sister, Virgil Samant, said she wishes she had more time with her sister and niece.
“I dread the day that my sister met this man,” she said after witnessing the execution. “I will pray very hard for forgiveness for this man, but right now I have no compassion for him. One day it will come, but for right now I don’t give a damn. He can go rot in hell.”
Zandrea’s aunt, Petrina Thomas, said Strong had to take responsibility for the murders.
“Richard Strong had a chance to watch his daughter grow up, laugh and smile with her. We never got a chance to see Zandrea’s first day or school or graduations, or watch her go to prom, and my brother will never get a chance to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.”
Sammant also urged people to communicate about domestic violence before it escalates.
“Everyone should at least have a code or a system for their loved ones, if something is not right. Please go ahead and have a code or a system for your family,” she said .
No members of Strong’s family witnessed the execution.
Governor Jay Nixon (D), who declined to grant clemency to Strong at the request of his daughters and mother, asked Missourians to remember Washington and Thomas.
“There have been many lives deeply affected by these crimes, and our thoughts and prayers go out on their behalf this evening,” Nixon said in a statement.
Attorney General Chris Koster, whose office opposed appeals filed by Strong’s attorneys even in the final hours before the execution was carried out, also issued a statement.
“While nothing can make up for the terrible events of that day,” Koster said of the day of the murders, “at least Richard Strong’s execution can give the victims’ family some measure of closure.”
Petrina Thomas said it would do just that.
“We are at peace now, and so glad that this is finally over,” she said. “Thank you, everyone, that was involved in this day happening. Thank you, State of Missouri.”
VIDEOS: Petrina Thomas’ statement (top video) and Willie Mae McCoy’s statement (below)