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I want to say I'm sorry for the cruel things I did. I'm not the same man I was when I came to jail. I changed. I'm a better man. … I walked in here without a fight, and I accept my punishment. It is time to go. I love you people. … I'm at peace
~ Steckel before his execution

Brian Steckel, AKA the "Driftwood Killer" (December 14th, 1968 - November 4th, 2005) was an American murderer.

Murder Of Sandra Lee Long And Aftermath

On the night of September 2nd, 1994, Steckel approached the apartment of Sandra Lee Long and knocked on the door. Long let him in, and was immediately asked to use her phone, which he disconnected before demanding sex. When Long refused, he choked her into unconsciousness with pantyhose, stabbed and sodomized her with a screwdriver, set her bed on fire, locked her in the bedroom and left her to die from burning or smoke inhalation.

Coming home from a night on the town with a friend, Steckel was driven past Long's building, which was now on fire. His friend commented that Steckel "looked as if he'd murdered someone", agitating Steckel. Within hours, Steckel had called the News Journal and identified himself as "The Driftwood Killer", as well as stating he was going to kill another random woman named Susan Gell. He began targeting Gell and sending her harassing phone calls, but law enforcement managed to trace them back to him and he was arrested. Long's body, which had been recovered, was examined by a bite mark analyst, who confirmed that a bite mark she received during the assault came from Steckel.

Trial

Steckel was placed on trial shortly afterwards, and remained unrepentant, sending Long's parents a copy of the autopsy report, with the attached message:

Read it and weep. She's gone forever.

However, during the trial Steckel realised what he did was wrong and asked to be held accountable for the crimes. He was convicted of murdering Long and harassing and conspiring to murder Gell and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Steckel did not want to die and appealed the verdict claiming ineffectual defence, but his appeal was rejected. He also tried to get the Supreme Court to declare the death penalty unconstitutional, but this too failed.

Execution

On November 4th, 2005 Steckel was sent to be executed. He delivered his speech, stating that he was a changed man and at peace with his death, intending the speech to be his last words. However, the first drug, intended to put him to sleep while he was executed, didn't work and he remained conscious for the execution. During the 12 minutes of pain, he commented that:

I didn't think it would take this long

Steckel was still fully conscious as the final injection occurred, stopping his heart and ending him.

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