STARKE, Fla. — A Florida man who had been on death row for 24 years for murdering a former Oregon woman in 1986 was executed by lethal injection Tuesday evening, and according to witnesses and reporters, prior to being put to death he admitted to the murder of Angie Crowley.
William Happ was arrested and subsequently sentenced to death after being convicted for the kidnap, rape and murder of 21-year-old Crowley in 1986. Crowley had moved to Florida from Oregon five months before her death.
On Oct. 15 at 6:02 p.m., EST, Happ’s execution began. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m.
While Happ’s confession and death ends a long ordeal for Crowley’s loved ones, it does not erase the past.
“I do not think closure is the right word. It brought everything back the last couple of days,” said Kathy Blume, of Oregon, a cousin of Crowley. “We are relieved it is over and it took way too long. It was very hard to go through and we were all very surprised when he admitted guilt.”
In May 1986, Crowley was murdered by Happ while she was stopped for help after taking a wrong turn while traveling approximately 300 miles to visit a friend in Yankeetown from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she worked as a travel agent. She was last seen at a gas station at 2:30 a.m. on May 24, 1986 when she used a pay phone to ask for directions.
It was discovered that Happ broke the window of Crowley’s car, kidnapped her and took her from that location. Her body was found in the Cross-Florida Barge Canal later that day.
Happ was eventually arrested in California on unrelated drug charges, but a shoe print at the scene of the crime matched Happ’s and he was subsequently extradited to Florida where in 1989 he was convicted of murder charges in Crowley’s death.
Following Tuesday’s execution, Crowley’s brother, Chris, gave a statement surrounded by family and friends.
“We have lost a vibrant young lady with dark blue eyes and an infectious smile. With this loss we will no longer experience her great sense of humor, her laughter and her loving and caring personality. Our loss is also your loss. You have lost the possibility of meeting such a special person.”