Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Texas executes man who massacred family

The 17th Execution of 2014
A Texas man, Jose Villegas,  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 on April 16, 2014, reported the Associated Press.
The lethal injection of Villegas was carried out after his attorneys unsuccessfully argued to the U.S. 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 7:04pm 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, apologize 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.
The Supreme Court has prohibited execution of mentally impaired people, although states have been allowed to devise procedures to make their own determinations. Courts also have embraced scientific studies that consider a 70 IQ a threshold for impairment, and the high court justices are reviewing a Florida law stipulating that number for death penalty eligibility.
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