The 2nd Execution of 2018
A Dallas man, William Rayford, was executed on January 30, 2018 for the 1999 slaying of his ex-girlfriend while he already was on parole for killing his estranged wife, reported The Associated Press.
Rayford, 64, became the nation’s second inmate put to death this year, both in Texas, when he received lethal injection for beating, stabbing and strangling 44-year-old Carol Lynn Thomas Hall. Her body was found about 300 feet (91 meters) inside a drainage pipe behind her home in South Dallas’ Oak Cliff area. Hall’s 11-year-old son, Benjamin, also was stabbed in the attack but survived. He testified against Rayford.
Asked by the warden at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit if he had a final statement, Rayford apologized repeatedly to his victim’s four children who watched through a window a few feet from him.
“Carol didn’t deserve what I done,” he said. “Please try to find it in your heart to forgive me. I am sorry. It has bothered me for a long time what I have done.”
He said he had made mistakes and asked God to forgive him.
“If this gives you closure and makes you feel better, I have no problem with this taking place,” Rayford said.
As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began taking effect, he lifted his head from the pillow on the death chamber gurney, repeated that he was sorry and then said he was “going home.”
He began to snore, and within seconds all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead at 8:48 p.m., 13 minutes after the powerful sedative was injected.
Among the four people who witnessed the execution was the victim’s son who was stabbed in the attack. He and three siblings showed no emotion as they watched Rayford die. They declined interviews afterward.
The punishment was delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court considered — and later rejected — last-day appeals from Rayford’s lawyers. The attorneys argued his death sentence was tainted because his trial lawyer in 2000 improperly introduced the subject of race as a factor in prison violence while questioning a prison expert during the punishment phase. Nadia Wood, a Dallas-based federal public defender, told the high court that in bringing it up, the trial lawyer implied “that people like Mr. Rayford — a black man — are the cause of the violence.”
An assistant Texas attorney general, Jefferson Clendenin, disputed the argument, telling the justices the witness never testified as an expert in rates of violence because he wasn’t qualified to do so and that none of the witness’ trial testimony “even implied that African-Americans are more likely than others to be violent or that Rayford himself was a future danger.”
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