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BOISE, IDAHO. Paul Rhoades was convicted of murder in 1987. He admitted to police he killed Susan Michelbacher, 34, and Nolan Haddon, 20.. He was also convicted in the murder of Stacy Baldwin, 21. He was sentenced in 1988.
The media representatives who witnessed the execution reported what they had seen in the execution chamber. Rebecca Boone is a reporter with the Associated Press. She described Rhoades' last words.
"Perhaps the most noteworthy thing was Mr. Rhoades' final statement. He apologized for the Michelbacher murder but did not take responsibility for the other two murders," said Boone. "He said, to Bert Michelbacher, 'I'm sorry for the part I played in your wife's death. For Haddon, you still have to keep looking. I can't help you, I'm sorry for your family. I can't help you, I took part in the Michelbacher death, I can't help you guys, sorry.'"
Boone continued to describe his final statement, "He continued, he faced the section that contained his representatives, and he said 'Mom, goodbye,' and then he turned and faced the warden Randy Blades and said, 'You guys, I forgive you, I really do.' And that was the end of his statement for the evening."
KIVI's Mac King also witnessed the execution. He said the entire thing was done very professionally, "The whole thing was incredibly sterile, with the exception of his statement. Everyone was very professional. Double and triple checking every step of the process and sterile is the best adjective or word I can put with the entire thing."
He also mentioned what the mood was like in the room when Rhoades made his statement and once the death was announced, "There were some tears on their part, they didn't really react when they did the statement but after he was pronounced dead there was definitely relief."
Nate Green with the Idaho Press Tribune was the third witness to address the media. He described what he thought was one of the most emotional parts of the execution.
"It was very quiet and somber, quiet throughout. Towards the end, one gentlemen, apparent friend of Michelbachers, said, 'The devil has gone home.' That was very emotional."
Following witness testimonies, Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg talked about the process. He was present for Rhoades' execution Friday, as well as the 1994 execution of Eugene Wells.
"What I saw is what I would've expected," Sonnenberg described. "We're 27 years later, the first was done professional, as far as start to finish. Process was very much the same. What you expect to see different, is the changes in technology that have been implemented that were not available back then. It made it a lot better process because of technology, for my role in pronouncing the death, and seeing that everything went smoothly."
Sonnenberg continued describing the process, "We're monitoring the heart, you're seeing, as the different drugs are injected, you're seeing the heart respond accordingly to those drugs. Until you finally have the last drug administered, which would end up giving a flatline, and they run flatline for a few minutes to see if anything else was going on. Basically, we're just monitoring the heart, and how it's responding to the meds, and they responded just as we expected."