The 11th Execution of 2015
Kent Sprouse was convicted of killing a Dallas-area police officer. According to the Associated Press, he apologized to victims' families just before his execution on April 9, 2015.
Sprouse, 42, became the fifth convicted killer put to death this year in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state.
Sprouse was sentenced to death for the October 2002 killing of 28-year-old Harry Marvin "Marty" Steinfeldt III, a police officer in Ferris, who died during a shootout that followed the killing of a customer outside a convenience store.
Before his execution, Sprouse apologized to the families of his victims and his own family "for all the trouble I've caused everyone." Then he thanked his family members for their support. "I guess that's it," he said.
He took several deep breaths after the execution drug pentobarbital began taking effect, then began snoring. Within a minute, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead 22 minutes later at 6:33 p.m. CDT.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Sprouse's case in November, and no last-day appeals were filed for him in the courts.
Witnesses said Sprouse carried a shotgun into the Ferris Food Mart store while he made a purchase and then walked outside and fired toward two men at a pay phone. He went to his car and appeared to have some trouble with it, then shot and killed 38-year-old Pedro Moreno, a customer who was pumping gas near him.
Steinfeldt responded to a 911 call about a customer shot at the store and came under gunfire. He was struck twice under the arm where his protective vest did not cover him. He managed to fire 17 shots, reloading his gun once, and wounded Sprouse in the chest, leg and hand.
Court records indicate Sprouse told an officer who accompanied him in an ambulance to a hospital that he believed Moreno was an undercover officer, so he shot him.
"And I shot the other officer that was in uniform," Sprouse said, according to the records.
Sprouse was charged in Moreno's killing, but wasn't tried for it.
Relatives of both Steinfeldt and Moreno declined to speak with reporters after Sprouse's execution. Michelle Steinfeldt, the officer's widow, released a statement saying the execution was "the emotional end of a long, excruciating journey."
Tests showed that Sprouse, a Boone County, Missouri, native, had taken methamphetamine and other illegal drugs within 48 hours of the killings.
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