Family: 'We never have to think of Richard Leavitt again'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The family of Danette Elg has issued a statement after the state of Idaho executed the man convicted of her death more than two decades ago.

"We want to express thanks to everyone who has labored faithfully to uphold the laws of Idaho so that justice and retribution may be served," the family said.

"Closure is now possible for those of us who have lived with the horror of Danette's murder constantly overshadowing the joyful memories of her life."

"As family and friends of Danette we never have to think of Richard Leavitt again. Our memories can now focus on the brief time she was here sharing our lives and the joy of loving her."

Convicted killer Richard Leavitt was executed by the state of Idaho Tuesday morning at 10:25 a.m.

Prison officials say Leavitt had been calm leading up to his execution. He did not issue a final statement. Photos from the Prison

Leavitt was sentenced in 1985 for the stabbing death of Danette Elg of Blackfoot. A judge called the murder a grossly inhumane act that went beyond all decency.

"I've never really experienced this kind of a quiet," Scott Logan of KBOI-TV commented after witnessing the execution. "When the air conditioner went on it startled me because it was that quiet."

Logan said Leavitt only spoke once that media members could hear when he asked about whether he wanted a cloth to cover his eyes. He told the execution team, "no."

Several of the media members described a relatively calm Leavitt throughout the process up until his death.

Leavitt had maintained his innocence, but also said in an interview with KBOI 2News before his death that he was prepared to die. About 30 protesters stood outside the prison walls.

Leavitt, 53, was executed for the 1984 murder of 31-year-old Danette Elg of Blackfoot. He said last week that he had no plans to issue any final words. | What's it like on Death Row?

Danette Elg

Leavitt was transferred into the death row chambers at about 9:40 a.m. The deadly drugs were administered into his body at about 10:10 a.m.

Tuesday morning's execution was the first time witnesses were able to watch the entire process from start to finish after the Associated Press and multiple news organizations from around the state sued for the right to witness the lethal injection process.

The Leavitt execution is the second in a year for the Gem State. On Nov. 8, Idaho put to death Paul Ezra Rhoades.

Leavitt's body will be cremated. The remains will be turned over to his family.

Idaho now has 11 men and one woman remaining on its Death Row. Brent Reinke, Idaho Department of Correction director, said Idaho could possibly execute another inmate by next year.

"I would anticipate in the first quarter of next year that may be possible," Reinke said.

But Lawrence Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, said the state won't speculate when another execution could take place out of respect for victims families as well as the inmates on Death Row.