Man Executed for Killing 3 Members of Texas Family - The New Indian Express

Man Executed for Killing 3 Members of Texas Family

Published: 17th April 2014 10:45 AM

Last Updated: 17th April 2014 10:47 AM

A man convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend, her young son and her mother 13 years ago at a home in Corpus Christi was executed by Texas prison officials.

The lethal injection of Jose Villegas, 39, was carried out after his attorneys unsuccessfully argued to the US Supreme Court that he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty.

"I would like to remind my children once again I love them," Villegas said when asked if he had a statement before being put to death. "Everything is OK. I love you all, and I love my children. I am at peace."

Just as the pentobarbital began taking effect, he said, "It does kind of burn. Goodbye." He gasped several times, then started to breathe quietly. Within less than a minute, all movement had stopped.

Villegas was pronounced dead at 7:04 pm CDT, 11 minutes after the lethal dose of the sedative began. He became the seventh prisoner executed this year in the nation's most active death penalty state.

Six relatives of his victims witnessed the execution but declined to comment afterward.

"I was struck by the calm and peacefulness inside that room as opposed to the utter terror the victims must have been in as Jose Luis Villegas stabbed them," Mark Skurka, the Nueces County district attorney who prosecuted Villegas, said after watching the execution.

"He made no attempt to make peace with the family, apologise to the family or show any remorse for taking the lives of three people," Skurka said.

"The family expressed to me that they are glad that this is finally over and that justice has finally been done, even though it took a very long time in their minds for this to happen."

Villegas' lawyers filed a last-day appeal asking the Supreme Court to stop his punishment, saying testing in February showed he had an IQ of 59.

The high court denied it several hours later, slightly delaying the punishment. Four of the nine justices indicated in the brief court order that they would have given him a reprieve.

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