The Nashville Tennessean, Wednesday, 4/19/2000
COE EXECUTED; TENNESSEE CARRIES OUT FIRST DEATH PENALTY IN 40 YEARS AS GIRLÂ’S KILLER DIES BY INJECTION
By Jay Hamburg, Kirk Loggins and John Shiffman / Staff Writers
Robert Glen Coe was pronounced dead at 1:37 a.m. today, shortly after he received a lethal injection at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in west Nashville.
Coe, the first prisoner executed in Tennessee since 1960, was put to death after a furious night of last-minute appeals, a judge's order to halt the execution and a midnight reversal by the state's highest court.
Dressed in prison-issue garb and strapped to a gurney, Coe was given a chance to speak into a microphone hanging from the ceiling shortly before a lethal combination of chemicals started flowing into his veins. He said:
"I love you all with all my heart and soul. I forgive the state of Tennessee for murdering me for something I didn't do. I'm not guilty of this crime, and that's the God's truth."
Then he said "God loves you" to the witnesses, an echo of his 8-year-old victim's last words to him just before she was murdered.
According to Charlotte Stout, the girl's mother, Coe also said he forgave Stout for "helping the state kill him" and expressed no remorse.
Relatives of Cary Ann Medlin, the girl Coe was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering in 1979, watched his death on closed-circuit television from a room nearby.
Coe's brothers and sisters, lawyers representing Coe and the state, a prison chaplain and seven news media representatives witnessed the execution from a room next to the death chamber.
Robert Glen Coe was born April 15, 1956, in Henry County, TN, fifth child of Willie Monroe and Annie Belle (Knight) Coe. His great grandfather William Glen Coe, who was born in 1873 in Wayne County, KY, moved to Henry County about 1897 and was killed there about 1900 while breaking horses. He married September 7, 1892, at the Toler home in Wayne County, Mary Elizabeth Toler, born September 24, 1876, died November 20, 1962, at Paris, TN, daughter of King and S. Toler. Burial was at Bevil Cemetery, Paris.
The family descends from Samuel and Elvira (Davis) Coe who were married May 11, 1826, in Wayne County, KY. Samuel Coe, who was born in 1793 in North Carolina or Georgia, first appears on record in Wayne County, October 11, 1818, when he was named as an heir of Rachel Kiggins. Elisha Franklin, Elizabeth Coe and Nancy Kiggins were also named as heirs. Nancy Kiggins, who was born Janaury 10, 1802, in North Carolina, married December 31, 1818, in Wayne County, KY, Joseph Henry Hamilton, who was born in Garrard County, KY, son of Charles and Hannah (Henry) Hamilton. They named a son Samuel Coe Hamilton.
Samuel Coe appears in Wayne County tax records November 21, 1832, when it was noted that he had Â“Removed to Pulaski County, Ky.Â” By 1840 he had returned to Wayne County and appears there on the census that year. He died after 1860. He and Elvira Davis were the parents of eleven children. William Glen Coe was the oldest son of their youngest son Joshua Coe, who was born in 1847 in Wayne County.
A mechanic in McKenzie, TN, Robert Glen Coe was convicted in 1981 of the Sept. 1, 1979, kidnap, rape and murder of 8-year-old Cary Ann Medlin at Greenfield. After capture he tormented law enforcement with gruesome details of the crime, recants, constant appeals and veiled threats. His April 1983 escape touched off a furor in the Tennessee statehouse. Since then he has sat on death row in Tennessee State Prison, Nashville.
Before the Medlin murder at least a half-dozen mental health experts in two states proclaimed Coe had the potential for deviancy and violence. As early as 1976 experts had labeled him a menace to others, despite efforts to treat him. After his arrest authorities claimed he lamented Â“If you donÂ’t do something with me and you let me out, IÂ’ll do it again.Â” His attorneys, claiming Â“there was mitigation that should be found and was not found,Â” appealed his conviction to the US Supreme Court. He was executed at 1:37am this morning, the first man put to death by the State of Tennessee in 40 years.
Carl Robert Coe
Marysville, OH 43040-9012