Inmate on North Carolina’s death row has died, but not the way he wanted to

An inmate on North Carolina’s death row who once pleaded with prison officials to carry out his sentence has died of natural causes.

Allen R. Holman, who was convicted of killing his wife in front of an Apex police officer, died Wednesday afternoon at a medical center outside Central Prison, according to the state Department of Adult Correction. Holman was 64.

Holman and his wife Linda were living in Morrisville in the summer of 1997 when she called 911 from N.C. 55, saying her husband was ramming her car and trying to kill her. Linda Holman, a nurse at Central Prison, turned into a convenience store parking lot at Olive Chapel Road, where an Apex police officer was parked. The officer pursued Allen Holman, who circled back around to the store and shot his wife.

Holman then went to the couple’s home, where he held police off with gunfire before shooting himself in the stomach.

Holman pleaded guilty to murder in 1998. At his sentencing hearing in April 1998 he told the judge that he would rather be executed than spend the rest of his life in prison.

“I’m going to die as a piece of state property either way,” he said. “There’s only a little bit of difference as to the time of death.”

A Wake County jury obliged, sentencing Holman to death.

Allen Holman, who was sentenced to death for killing his wife in front of an Apex police officer in 1997, has died of natural causes.

After mandatory appeals, Holman was scheduled to be executed in March 2007. But by then, a series of lawsuits filed in state courts questioning the fairness and humanity of capital punishment had created a de facto moratorium on executions.

The state has not executed anyone since Samuel R. Flippen was killed by lethal injection in August 2006 for first-degree murder in Forsyth County. Since then, several inmates on death row, like Holman, have died of something other than execution.

There remain 136 people on North Carolina’s death row, including two women, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.