- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2002

JARRATT, Va. A man who refused to appeal his death sentence for killing his 4-year-old daughter and her 14-year-old half-sister was executed last night.
Daniel Lee Zirkle, 33, died by injection at the Greensville Correctional Center at 9:07 p.m.
"I would just like to say that I'm sorry to everyone who's been hurt in this tragedy that I've had," Zirkle said in a statement after being led into the death chamber. "I also want to thank my family for their love and support, my lawyers, my preacher, for their help in getting me through this. I want my soulmate Gracie to know that I love her with all of my heart and soul, and I will always be with her."
On Aug. 2, 1999, he killed his daughter, Christina M. Zirkle, in Page County after stabbing to death her half-sister, Jessica L. Shifflett, 14, in neighboring Rockingham County earlier that day.
Zirkle and Barbara Jo Shifflett, the mother of both girls, had lived together in Rockingham until April 1999. On Aug. 2, the couple were estranged, and Zirkle had just been released from jail, where he had been sent for violating a protective order by assaulting Miss Shifflett.
A Rockingham jail inmate testified that Zirkle said he was "going to take care of all three of them when he got out of there."
"If he couldn't have them, nobody else would. He said he was going to kill them, all three," the inmate said.
While Miss Shifflett was at work, Zirkle went to her house, stabbed Jessica and took Christina to an overlook on Storybook Trail in Page County, where he stabbed the child to death and cut his own throat.
Zirkle admitted to killing both girls and asked for the death sentence at each trial. He also refused to let his attorneys present mitigating evidence. He was sentenced to death for the murders of both girls, and he received a third death sentence because the killings took place within three years of each other.
He was the second person executed this year in Virginia and the 85th since capital punishment resumed in 1976.


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