Virginia Inmate Killer Scheduled to be Executed

RICHMOND, Va. — Barring intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, a self-described high priest of a pagan religion will be executed Thursday for fatally stabbing a fellow inmate.

Michael W. Lenz, 40, was sentenced to die for plunging a homemade knife into Brent Parker 68 times four years ago at the Augusta Correctional Center.

He was scheduled to be put to death by injection at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

Condemned inmates are given a choice of lethal injection or electrocution. Lenz did not make a choice, meaning the default method of injection as prescribed by law will be used, said state Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor.

Lenz has an appeal pending before the Supreme Court. He had not filed a clemency request with Gov. Mark R. Warner, said Warner spokesman Kevin Hall.

Lenz declined a telephone interview from the Greensville prison, where he was being held a few feet from the execution chamber that houses the electric chair and the gurney used for lethal injections.

Lenz argued at his July 2000 trial that he feared Parker and killed him in self-defense.

Lenz, then serving a seven-year sentence for a string of burglaries in Prince William County, said he was the high priest of a Nordic cult called Asatru. Parker was trying to bully him out of the cult, Lenz testified.

Lenz also said he was “protecting the honor” of Nordic gods by killing Parker.

Lenz and friend Jeffrey Remington attacked Parker during an Asatru ceremony while surrounded by witnesses.

Remington committed suicide Feb. 23 by hanging himself with a bed sheet on death row.

Lenz’s execution would be the third in Virginia this year and the 92nd since the state resumed executions in 1982 following a 20-year hiatus. Only Texas has executed more.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Associated Press, USA
June 29, 2004
Bill Baskervill

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday June 29, 2004.
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