Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Texas carries out nation's 20th execution

The 20th Execution of 2013

 Vaughn Ross was executed on July 18, 2013 for the January 2001 fatal shootings of an 18-year-old woman with whom he had been feuding and an associate dean at Texas Tech University who was with her at the time, reported the New York Daily News.

No relatives or friends of Ross were there for the execution, yet he told them he loved them, thanked them for their support and urged them to stay strong.

"You know I don't fear death," he said, strapped to the death chamber gurney. "I know we weren't expecting this, but this is what it is. We know the lies that were told against me in court. We know it's not true."

As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began taking effect, Ross took several breaths, then began snoring. He let out a gurgle, snored once more and then stopped all movement. He was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m. CDT, 22 minutes after the lethal drug was injected.

Ross was executed for the slayings of Douglas Birdsall, 53, the associate dean of libraries at Texas Tech University, and Viola Ross McVade. McVade was the sister of Ross' girlfriend and was not related to the convicted killer.

Authorities believed Birdsall and McVade were ambushed in an alley behind Ross' apartment after Ross had ordered McVade's sister to leave. A bicyclist later spotted their bodies in a car in a gully at a Lubbock park.

Court documents said Birdsall had been looking for a prostitute and that a friend of McVade introduced him to her that evening. Prosecutors contend McVade was the intended target, and that Birdsall was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

A brother of Birdsall was among people watching the execution through a death chamber window. He declined to speak with reporters.

Birdsall's son, Nathaniel, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, his father raised him to believe the death penalty was unjust.

"I am saddened that the loss of two lives will be needlessly compounded by the taking of a third," he said.

At least six other Texas prisoners have execution dates set for the coming months, including one later this month.

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