by Marc KovacCapital Bureau ChiefColumbus -- A convicted murderer who drank his victim's blood and laughed and sang as medical responders worked on the victim was put to death May 24. Christopher Newton, 37, was pronounced dead at 11:53 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. "Boy, I could sure go for some beef stew and a chicken bone," were his last public words, said from the death chamber minutes before the lethal injection commenced. "That's it." It took nearly 90 minutes for the execution team to find veins for shunts prior to the process. Newton appeared calm throughout the process, often laughing and talking with guards. Public Defender Robert K. Lowe, Newton's legal counsel who witnessed the execution, read a brief statement after the execution. "To all those I hurt in the past, please forgive me," Lowe read. Newton was doing time at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in November 2001 on a variety of charges, including two from Ashland County when he murdered his cellmate. Officers found Jason Brewer, a 27-year-old in prison for attempted burglary, "lying still on the floor in a puddle of blood with a piece of orange cloth wrapped around his neck," according to state documents. He was not breathing and had no pulse. Newton, standing nearby, had smeared the victim's blood on himself and drank some; he yelled and laughed as medical responders worked, according to documents. Newton pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to death in February 2003. In an interview with the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association, he said he favored capital punishment and believed it was an appropriate penalty in his case. "I'm for the death penalty," he said. "If you're sentenced to it, they should carry it out. ... This is the best decision for myself and my family. "I'm all about accepting responsibility, no matter what I've done in the past, if I'm guilty of it and you catch me, I'll take responsibility. If I ain't guilty of it, I'm gonna fight it." Newton added later that he worked with the author of a textbook for a criminal psychology class and hoped his case would prompt others to avoid his actions. "People will have a better understanding of people on death row," he said. "Maybe look at what I've done and realize this isn't the road to go. That's the only thing I can hope is good that'll come of my life."Newton arrived in Lucasville May 23 and visited with siblings and relatives in the late afternoon and evening after eating a special meal that included T-bone steaks, asparagus and cream soda. He spent much of the evening writing letters and went to sleep just after midnight, said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Newton woke up about 5 a.m., showered and met with his attorney, his sister and a spiritual adviser. He ate German chocolate cake (the last of his special meal) for breakfast, along with two cartons of milk, Dean said. He was resigned to his fate throughout. "He came in calm," Dean said. "He came in prepared to die." Reading a statement written by Newton afterward, Lowe apologized to the victim's family: "If I could take it back, I would. To my family, I love you and I am sorry." Newton was the 26th person to be executed (and the eighth to volunteer) since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1999 and the second since Gov. Ted Strickland took office in January. Marc Kovac is the Dix Newspapers Capital Bureau chief. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.