Supreme Court Sets Ex-Marine’s Execution

A former Marine Corps recruiter who admitted he raped and murdered a teenage waitress in Itawamba County 22 years ago has a date with death at Parchman.  The State Supreme Court has set December 14th for Thomas Edwin Loden to be executed.   He pleaded guilty to the crimes.  Loden lived in Vicksburg but was visiting his grandmother when prosecutors say he encountered  Leesa Gray, 16, at the restaurant where she worked in the Dorsey community east of Mooreville, flirted with her, then came back to flatten a tire on her car.  Later, when he found her stranded on the side of a road, he forced her into his van where she was raped and strangled while Loden videotaped part of the incident.   He was found the next day with the words “I’m sorry” carved into his chest.   Loden had been a Marine for 18 years rising to the rank of gunnery sergeant. His execution would be the first in Mississippi since last November when David Cox was given a lethal injection for killing his wife and raping his stepdaughter.