ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – The State of Mississippi has moved to set an execution date for Thomas Edwin Loden, Jr.
In 2000, Loden kidnapped 16-year-old Leesa Marie Gray after discovering her stranded on the side of the road. Prosecutors said he spent hours repeatedly raping and sexually battering Gray before killing her.
Loden was indicted for capital murder, rape and four counts of sexually battery. He waived his right to a jury and pled guilty to all six charges.
The Circuit Court of Itawamba County sentenced Loden to death. He was also sentenced to 30 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) for rape and 30 years for each of his four sexual battery convictions. The circuit court ordered his sentences to run consecutively.
Prosecutors said Loden challenged his conviction and sentenced many times, but he exhausted all state and federal remedies.
The State asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to set the execution date within 28 days as no legal impediment exists to deter the setting of the execution date.