Update: June 9, 2014 10:08 am EDT


Ricky Lee Blackwell, Sr.'s execution is scheduled for 6 pm EDT, on Saturday, June 14, 2014, at the Capital Punishment Facility inside of Broad River Correctional Institute in Columbia, South Carolina. Fifty-five-year-old Ricky is convicted of killing 8-year-old Heather Brooke Center in Spartanburg County, South Carolina on July 15, 2009. Ricky was convicted of the crime on March 17, 2014. His execution has been stayed to allow time for appeals.


By July of 2009, Ricky Blackwell was estranged from his wife Angela, to whom he had been married 29 years. Angela had begun dating another man, who had a daughter, Heather Brook Center. On July 15, 2009, Heather went to Angela's apartment with the intention of spending the day swimming. When she got out of the car upon arriving at Angela's apartment complex, Blackwell grabbed her and placed her in a headlock. Blackwell then shot her in the head. Heather was shot three more times including once in the leg and once in the back. Blackwell later admitted the killing was revenge for her father dating Angela.


Blackwell fled the scene but was soon found by police in some nearby woods. The officers ordered Blackwell to lay down his weapon. Instead, Blackwell shot himself in the stomach in an apparent attempted suicide.


Blackwell and his attorneys attempted to argue that Blackwell was incompetent and ineligible for the death penalty. Blackwell had a borderline IQ score and dropped out of high school in his junior year, where he was ranked last in his class. Prior to his arrest, Blackwell obtained a commercial driver's license and worked as a truck driver and forklift operator. He lived independently. Blackwell also had a history of depression, beginning at the age of 31. Family members who testified on Blackwell's behalf described him as a kind individual who would help out others.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Heather Brooke Center. Please pray for strength for the family of Ricky Blackwell. Please pray that Ricky may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.