The window, with a curtain drawn behind it, became a mirror. In its reflection: witnesses to an execution.
The condemned man's lawyers, Fred Warren Bennett and Michael E. Lawlor, sat on the top row of a small set of prisoner-built bleachers, eyes downcast.
Between them, Stefanie McArdle, a public defender who had labored over the case, wept.
A retired police detective who 17 years ago investigated the murders of Dawn Garvin and Patricia Hirt, and who flew to Maine after Lori Ward was murdered, sat quietly, his face allowing no expression. The detective, Michael Peregoy, was accompanied by Lt. Col. Stephen T. Moyer of the Maryland State Police.
Two rabbis, Moshe Davids and Jacob Max, sat with hands folded in their laps, their faces solemn.
A few minutes earlier, the rabbis, who had long counseled the prisoner, had talked of how they would have liked to have been at his side in the execution room.
Instead, like the other witnesses gathered Thursday night behind the walls of downtown Baltimore's prison complex, they were separated from the death chamber by a thick plate of one-way glass. Witnesses would be able to see out, but the condemned man would not see in. The glass allowed no sounds, no medicinal smell into the witness room.
Four reporters sat on the bleachers, pens poised. In an adjoining room, victims' relatives waited, also behind a window.
A correctional officer slammed shut the heavy, metal doors to the witness rooms and dimmed the lights.
At 9:09 p.m., the curtain drew open.
Steven Howard Oken, a heavyset 42-year-old with silvery, close-cropped hair, lay on the execution table. A gray prison shirt peeked out through a white sheet that had been pulled from the bottoms of his feet to the middle of his chest. Two brown belts secured each of his thick arms.
Intravenous lines trailed from both arms, which had been extended in a T, into a room concealed by another plate of one-way glass. On the other side were members of the "execution team."
A long white curtain obscured the state's old gas chamber, a few feet behind the execution table.
The execution commander, corrections official Randall L. Watson, stood in a corner, his eyes occasionally glancing downward toward a light that would signal the start of the lethal injection procedure, and its completion.
Also in the room with Oken were a correctional officer who drew and pulled the curtains and a Roman Catholic priest.
Known as "Father Chuck," the Rev. Charles Canterna ministers to prisoners at the Supermax prison, including those on death row.
Oken lifted his head and glanced briefly toward the mirrored windows. He then returned his attention to the priest in the room.
The two exchanged smiles. They chatted - even chuckled - and the priest, through his wire-rimmed glasses, looked reassuringly at Oken. (That final conversation between Father Chuck and Oken will be kept private, according to prison officials.)
Oken breathed deeply, his midsection rising and falling sharply two or three times. He kept his gaze focused on the priest, who rushed toward him, gripped his right arm and said a few words.
The priest stepped back and bowed his head.
Oken blinked a few more times. His toes twitched. At 9:11 p.m., all visible movement stopped.
For five minutes, reporters furiously scribbled notes. The rabbis, lawyers and law enforcement witnesses sat silently. The public defender continued to cry softly.
Through the thin wall that separated those witnesses from the victims' relatives, the mother of Dawn Garvin could be heard saying, "I'd like to see his face."
The curtains snapped shut, leaving the witnesses to view only themselves.
Oken's official time of death: 9:18 p.m.
Julie Bykowicz was one of four media witnesses to Oken's execution.