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Ohio executed a hitchhiker Thursday who admitted to killing one motorist who gave him a ride and shooting two others during a three-week string of shootings that terrorized the Cincinnati area in 1983.

Michael Beuke, 48, died by lethal injection at 10:53 a.m. EDT at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, about 90 minutes after the Ohio Supreme Court turned down his final appeal.

While on the gurney, Beuke recited the Roman Catholic rosary for 17 minutes before he died, choking back tears as he repeatedly said the Hail Mary. He also expressed his sorrow to the families of his three victims.

Beuke, dubbed by the media as the "homicidal hitchhiker," spend a quarter century on death row, where he said he had a spiritual conversion. He expressed remorse for his crimes and said in an unsuccessful request for clemency that he accepted responsibility and prayed "that God will ease the pain I have caused my victims."

Beuke was emotional as the hour of his death neared, crying frequently in his cell at the Lucasville prison, said Julie Walburn, an Ohio prisons spokeswoman.

He was convicted Oct. 5, 1983, of aggravated murder for the death of Robert Craig, 27, of Cincinnati and was sentenced to death. He also was found guilty of the attempted slayings of Gregory Wahoff of Cincinnati and Bruce Graham, then from West Harrison, Ind.


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