KARLA Faye Tucker laughed as she was strapped down onto a gurney and injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs.
The 38-year-old had been on death row for 14 years after brutally killing two of her neighbours with a pickaxe while high on speed and alcohol.
The killings became national scandal when Tucker revealed in a police interview that she enjoyed it so much that she reached an orgasm with every blow made.
While on Death Row, the killer became a ‘Born-Again’ Christian and her ‘charming’ character won her legions of fans – and she even married the prison minister.
Here, on the 37th anniversary of the month of her death, we retell the gruesome and bizarre tale of the pickaxe killer.
Sex and drugs at the age of 12
Like many killers, Tucker, born in Houston, Texas, had a troubled childhood.
She started taking drugs and having sex at the aged of 12. By the time she was 14 she had dropped out of school and was forced into prostitution.
She started hanging out with bikers in her late teens and met her partner Daniel Garrett, then 35 years old, when she was 21.
On June 13th 1983, after spending the weekend on a drugs binge, Tucker and Garrett broke into the apartment of – Jerry Lynn Dean, 27 – to steal a motorbike that Jerry had been restoring.
During the burglary, the pair went into Jerry’s bedroom and Tucker threw herself on top of him.
In a struggle to get her off, he grabbed her, which led Garrett to crack a ball-peen hammer that he found on the floor around Jerry’s head.
After making several blows to Jerry’s head, Garrett left the room.
It was at that point Tucker picked up a three-foot pickaxe that was resting against the wall and began hitting Jerry to silence the “gurgling” sound he was making.
She later claimed in a police interview that she reached an orgasm with every blow made to Jerry.
Once Jerry was dead, Tucker turned her attention to his cowering girlfriend, Deborah Thornton, 32, who was hiding under the bed covers.
She swung for the woman repeatedly, launching the axe into her heart.
Examinations of the bodies revealed that Jerry had a total of 28 stab wounds along with a fatal skull fracture, while Deborah died from multiple stab wounds to the chest and head.
The next morning, one of Jerry’s co-workers discovered the victims’ bodies and the police investigation led to the arrests of Tucker and Garrett, five weeks after the killings.
In September 1983, Tucker entered a plea of not guilty but was charged for both murders, while Garrett was charged with just Jerry’s.
From cold-blooded killer to charming Christian
Tucker arrived at Texas State Penitentiary, in December 1984.
Soon after being imprisoned, Tucker decided to become a christian.
In Michelle Lyons’ book Death Row: The Final Minutes, Larry Fitzgerlan, former spokesman for the Texas prison system, explains how he got to know Tucker while she was incarcerated and admitted he warmed to her.
“I was fond of Karla Faye, and I think she was fond of me,” he said.
“She was a born-again Christian, and I had no reason to doubt her sincerity.
“I’m aware of that old saying that there are no atheists in fox holes, but she had a spirituality about her.
“She even married a prison minister.
“As far as I was concerned, she was a good person who made a terrible mistake.”
Larry claimed that Tucker was so popular with the inmates that the on-site Chaplain, Reverend Brazzil, had 18 men ask him if they could take her place on the gurney so she could be saved.
He added: “She made that kind of impact on people.
“I always said that if Karla Faye ever got off Death Row, she could move in next door to me.”
Ms Tucker was the first woman to be executed in Texas since 1863, and only the second woman to be executed in the US since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.
Larry recounted: “She truly was not afraid of being executed, she literally skipped down the hall to the death chamber, because she was convinced she was going to a better place.
“But I was pretty moved by the execution.
“I hated seeing her on that gurney, it drove me up the wall.”
Inmates “barely ever” fight back
But Ms Tucker was not alone in being obliging where her execution was concerned.
Michelle Lyons, who has witnessed nearly 300 executions in Texas, told Sun Online that inmates “barely ever fight” with the wardens as they are prepared for death.
Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the state of Texas and in 1982 it became the first jurisdiction in the world to carry out an execution by lethal injection.
During one of these events, Michelle watched through one-way glass as the inmate calmly walked into the death chamber, hopped on the gurney and held his arms out wide.
She said: “It troubled me so much seeing the inmate walk unrestrained to the gurney, hopping up there and offering his arms with no hesitation.”
While she felt no sympathy for some inmates, she said she had a harder time with other executions where she believed the prisoner wouldn’t re-offend if they were let out.
She added: “I felt guilty – but it’s easy to feel that way because they hadn’t killed anyone I loved.”
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/1054982/chilling-true-story-of-female-killer-who-reached-orgasm-as-she-butchered-her-victims-with-a-pickaxe/