Mom of Death Row Inmate’s Victim Reflects on Past 30 Years: ‘They say it gets better but not really’

Local News

WARREN, Ark. – The Natural State is now five days away from its first two of seven scheduled executions in an 11-day period. 

The double execution of Bruce Ward and Don Davis is set for April 17, the first lethal injections in Arkansas in more than a decade. 

“I’d give my own life for her to come back,” said Marilyn Doss, the mother of Ward’s victim.   

A mother would do anything for her child, but Doss couldn’t save her daughter’s life. 

“If you ever lose a child, just a big part of my heart,” she said. “She was so young, just 18.”

During the summer of 1989, Becky Doss, a recent high school graduate, worked the overnight shift at a Little Rock convenience store with dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

“She was talking about how she wanted to quit there and I said, ‘Ok, we’ll start looking for another job tomorrow then,'” Doss remembered. 

Tomorrow never came for Becky. That night Ward raped and strangled her in the men’s bathroom, the second life he’s taken that way. 

“He put her through a lot,” Doss said. “I don’t even try to imagine that.”

However, she does wonder if her daughter’s killer was ever sorry for it. 

“When he saw my youngest daughter in the trial, she looked so much like Becky that he couldn’t look at her no more,” Doss said. 

Given the opportunity to ask him that very question, she doesn’t know if she could.  

“I don’t know,” Doss said. “Probably wouldn’t say anything to him.”

“Could you even look him in the eye?,” asked reporter Jessi Turnure. 

“Probably not,” she replied. “I didn’t during the trial.”

Ward was sentenced to death a year later, a promise Doss has been waiting for the state to keep for almost 28 years.

“It’s just been a waste of taxpayer’s money to just keep doing this and having these trials when they caught him there at it [the crime scene],” she said. 

Now it looks like Ward’s execution day has come, April 17, which is three days before what would have been Becky’s 46th birthday. 

“A good birthday present,” Doss said. 

She can’t give her life to bring her daughter back, but Ward’s death will bring her peace. 

“A celebration that justice has finally been done,” Doss said. 

She plans to witness Ward’s execution Monday at the Cummins Unit in Grady.

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