Michael Earl Sexton

Executed November 9, 2000 by Lethal Injection in North Carolina

74th murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
672nd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in North Carolina in 2000
16th murderer executed in North Carolina since 1976

Since 1976
Date of Execution
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Method of
to Murderer
Date of
Lethal Injection
Michael Earl Sexton

B / M / 23 - 34

Kimberly F Crows

W / F / 29


Kimberly Crews worked as a social worker/counselor at a pediatric clinic at Raliegh's Wake Medical Center. On August 8, 1990, Sexton kidnapped her from the hospital parking lot, taking her in her mini-van to a wooded area of town where she was raped and strangled. She was found dead in her van several hours later. Sexton also worked at the hospital and had a previous assault conviction.

State v. Sexton, 444 S.E.2d 879 (1994).
State v. Sexton, 545 S.E.2d 738 (2000).
State v. Sexton, 545 S.E.2d 732 (2000).
State v. Sexton, 540 S.E.2d 747 (1999).
State v. Sexton, 540 S.E.2d 36 (1999).
State v. Sexton, 540 S.E.2d 37 (1999).
State v. Sexton, 485 S.E.2d 307 (1997).
State v. Sexton, 472 S.E.2d 23 (1996).
Sexton v. North Carolina, 121 S.Ct. 444 (2000).
Sexton v. North Carolina, 115 S.Ct. 525 (1994).

Internet Sources:

North Carolina Department of Correction

Sexton Execution Carried out Nov. 9, 2000.

Death row inmate Michael Earl Sexton was executed Thursday Nov. 9, 2000 shortly after 2 a.m. at Central Prison in Raleigh. Warden Robey Lee pronounced Sexton dead at 2:34 a.m. The body was transported to Wake Medical Center.

Sexton, 34, was convicted Sept. 24, 1991 in Wake County Superior Court for the murder of Kimberly Crews, a counselor whose office was located at the Wake Area Health Education Center. A request for clemency was denied by Governor Jim Hunt on Nov. 8, 2000.

Sexton requested a last meal consisting of a Philly cheese steak sub and a Pepsi. He did not make a final statement. The execution was witnessed by four members of the victim's family: Alan Crews, her husband; Clayton and Cleon Futrelle, her parents and Randy Futrelle, her brother. Media witnesses were Andrea Weigl of the News & Observer, Andrea Leatherman of the Lincoln Times News and Estes Thompson of the Associated Press. Members of Sexton's family did not wish to witness the execution.


Michael Sexton has been on death row since September 1991 for the rape and murder Kimberly Crews, a social worker at a pediatric clinic at Raliegh's Wake Medical Center, on August 8, 1990. Kimberly was kidnapped from the hospital parking lot and taken in her mini-van to a wooded area of town where she was raped and strangled. She was found dead in her van several hours later. Sexton also worked at the hospital and had a previous assault conviction.

The Lamp of Hope (Associated Press & Rick Halperin)

North Carolina executed a death-row prisoner early Thursday for the 1990 rape and murder of a Wake County hospital counselor. Michael Earl Sexton, 34, was pronounced dead at 2:34 a.m. after receiving a lethal injection at Raleigh's Central Prison, said Tracy Little, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction.

Sexton died about 8 hours after Gov. Jim Hunt and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected pleas from Sexton's lawyers to stop his execution. Hunt said Wednesday evening that the evidence showed that Sexton was guilty of the crimes.The full Supreme Court rejected two petitions for a stay of execution filed on Sexton's behalf. There was no dissent.Hunt, who has granted executive clemency only once in his 16 years as governor, met last week with prosecutors, the victim's family, Sexton's attorney and death penalty opponents.

Sexton spent his last day visiting with half brother David Sheppard and his godmother, Myrtle Sheppard, in the death watch area at Central Prison in Raleigh. Crews' parents, husband and brother asked to watch Sexton die."Mr. Sexton acted with premeditation in ending the life of a woman who had done nothing to deserve her fate, and who had devoted her life to helping others in need, especially children who had been abused and mistreated," Hunt said. Hunt said his review of the case left him "absolutely certain that there is no question here concerning the guilt of the convicted individual, or of his mental capacity.

"Death penalty opponents said they were disappointed with the governor's action because of a growing public sentiment to halt executions while the fairness of the death penalty is studied. A legislative study commission looking into capital punishment already had asked Hunt to stop Sexton's execution."Some of the most important political leaders in North Carolina urged Gov. Hunt to not grant clemency, but simply delay this execution while our state's lawmakers review the evident problems with the death penalty," said Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty.

About 100 people protested Sexton's death outside Central Prison early Thursday in a vigil leading up to the execution.Dear said studies show a racial bias against blacks in administration of the death penalty and the number of people on death row.Dear said Sexton had one black on his jury."There is evidence of institutional racism and what Gov. Hunt is saying is I don't care," Dear said. "The system is broken and it is not fair.

"Sexton becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in North Carolina and the 16th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1985. 2 more executions are scheduled in the state this year.Sexton becomes the 74th condemned inmate to be executed this year in the USA and the 672nd overall since America resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Campaign To End The Death Penalty - North Carolina

Summary of the Case of Michael Sexton - An Alert from People of Faith Against the Death Penalty

Michael Sexton was executed 11/9/00

Twenty six hours after the November Election Day, the people of North Carolina are scheduled to execute Michael Earl Sexton, an African-American. Michael is scheduled for execution at 2 a.m., Thursday, November 9, 2000 at Central Prison in Raleigh. It is difficult to overstate how shocking, brazen and ruthless the timing of this execution is. The powers that be in North Carolina have withheld scheduling executions all year, throughout the election campaign season (a time when the administration of the death penalty is coming under increasing public criticism) and have now scheduled an execution for within hours after voters walk out of the voting booths in November.

Now is the time for the abolition movement and those who support a moratorium on executions to show Attorney General Mike Easley, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Gov. Jim Hunt that they are ignoring a growing body of evidence that the death penalty in North Carolina is awash with racial and class bias. More and more North Carolinians are learning how deeply flawed our death penalty system is. Condemned by a jury of 11 whites, Michael Sexton's case is an example of such flaws.

In North Carolina, black defendants who kill whites are three times as more likely to face execution, according to a Charlotte Observer study (9/13/00). During the past decade, "just 40 percent of all murder victims in the Carolinas were white, but in cases of inmates now on death row, nearly 70 percent of the murder victims were white." The Observer concludes in an editorial that "minority defendants start out with an intolerable and indefensible disadvantage compared to white defendants" (9/13/00).

A N.C. Legislative Study Commission is studying racial disparities in the application of the death penalty in North Carolina. The Commission has heard extensive testimony about the use of racial slurs and racial stereotypes by participants in capital trials. The Commission will likely issue a report by the end of the year. In the face of the questions now being raised in the legislature and in by the public about racial disparities in the application of the death penalty, the timing of Michael Sexton's execution date is shocking. Questions of Fairness and Racial Bias Mandate Stay of Execution

Michael was 23 at the time of the crime, the rape-murder of Kimberly Crews, a white social worker at Wake Medical Center, in August 1990. The record in this case shows that racial bias tainted this death penalty prosecution. In addition, Michael Sexton's nightmarish childhood, as documented by juvenile social services records, show that he cannot be among the "worst of the worst" for which the death penalty is reserved.

Michael grew up a ward of Central Orphanage and the Wake County Department of Social Services. His father died when Michael was five. As a child, Michael was abused and abandoned by an alcoholic mother and a series of his mother's violent boyfriends. One of his mother's boyfriends sexually assaulted Michael's younger sister, giving her syphillis at the age of nine. Another boyfriend beat Michael with an iron poker. While trying to escape the beating, Michael overturned a pot of boiling water and scalded his leg. When Michael was 14, his mother told the family court that she did not want the children. Michael's sister and brother were placed in foster homes and Michael was sent to training school because DSS could not find a foster home for him. A year later, Michael was admitted to Central Orphanage. After DSS removed him from his mother's home, Michael did not see his mother or his siblings for a number of years. A DSS social worker recommended that Michael be placed in the Willie M program but he was rejected because he was "not violent enough." Less than a decade later, Michael committed the capital offense.

Michael was sentenced to death by a jury composed of 11 whites and one African-American. The State exercised four consecutive peremptory strikes to remove all but one of the African-Americans called for jury service. Asked to give reasons for excluding such a disproportionate number of African-American jurors, the prosecutor stated that one juror did not maintain eye contact and "was not forthcoming." The prosecutor objected to another juror because of "the way he was dressed." The prosecutor further noted that this juror wore an earring and concluded that he was "not mature" despite the fact that this juror was married, a father of two, and had lived at the same address for a number of years. The prosecutor faulted a third juror because she had poor eye contact. This juror had been a witness to an accident that resulted in a lawsuit. Based on this fact, the prosecutor excluded this juror because she was "litigious." The prosecutor also expressed concern that because the juror's husband worked at a hospital the juror would "identify" with the defendant who also worked at a hospital. The victim worked at a hospital too but the prosecutor did not explain why the juror would identify with the defendant rather than the victim.