|“||I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone within the prison. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill prison guards if I have to and rape and enjoy every minute of it.||„|
|~ Westley Allan Dodd|
Dodd wrote detailed accounts of his murders in a diary which was found by police. After pleading guilty to the charges of murder, he received the death penalty. After refusing an automatic appeal, his execution by hanging on January 5, 1993 was the first legal hanging in the United States since 1965.
Dodd grew up in what has been described as a loveless home and was often neglected by his parents in favor of his two younger brothers. He has stated that he was also ostracized in his school environment and deprived of or denied any emotional growth.
Dodd began sexually abusing children when he was 13 years old; his first victims were his own cousins. All his victims (over 50 in all) were children below the age of 12, some of them as young as two. Dodd's fantasies became increasingly violent over the years (he wrote about wanting to eat the genitals of his victims).
He eventually progressed from molesting his victims to murdering them, when he killed brothers Cole and William Neer, and eventually into torturing them before raping and murdering them, as he did to Lee Iseli. After he was arrested for trying to abduct a boy from a movie theater, the police found a homemade torture rack in his home, as yet unused. He was arrested by local police in Camas, Washington and interviewed by task force detectives. Portland Police Bureau Detective C. W. Jensen and Clark County Detective Sergeant Dave Trimble obtained Dodd's confession and served the search warrant on his home.
Several books have been written about the case, including Driven to Kill by true crime author Gary C. King and Dr. Ron Turco's book about his experience during the initial investigation to assist in developing a profile of the killer.
Dodd was sentenced to death for molesting and then stabbing to death Cole Neer (age 11) and his brother William (10) near a Vancouver, Washington, park in 1989, as well as for the separate rape and murder of Lee Iseli.
Less than four years elapsed between the murders and Dodd's execution. He refused to appeal his case or the capital sentence, stating "I must be executed before I have an opportunity to escape or kill someone within the prison. If I do escape, I promise you I will kill prison guards if I have to and rape and enjoy every minute of it." While in court he said that, if he escaped from jail, he would immediately go back to "killing kids."
Dodd was executed by hanging in the first few minutes of January 5, 1993 at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. By Washington state law, Dodd had to choose the method of his execution, and state law gave Dodd two options: lethal injection or hanging. Dodd chose hanging, later stating in interviews that he chose that method "because that's the way Lee Iseli died." He also requested that his hanging be televised, but that request was denied.
His execution was witnessed by 12 members of local and regional media, prison officials, and representatives of the families of the three victims. His last words, spoken from the second floor of the indoor gallows, were recorded by the media witnesses as: "I was once asked by somebody, I don't remember who, if there was any way sex offenders could be stopped. I said, `No.' I was wrong. I was wrong when I said there was no hope, no peace. There is hope. There is peace. I found both in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Look to the Lord, and you will find peace."
Dodd was pronounced dead by the prison doctor and his body transported to Seattle for autopsy. The King County Medical Examiner, Dr. Donald Reay, found that Dodd had died quickly and probably with little pain. He was cremated following the autopsy, and his ashes turned over to his family.