“Take me to my King”: Texas Death Row Inmate, Rickey Lynn Lewis, Executed Tuesday (Star-Telegram)

rickey-lewis-executedHUNTSVILLE, Texas (Star-Telegram) —

A Texas convict with a lengthy criminal history was executed Tuesday evening for fatally shooting a man and raping the slain man’s fiancee during a home break-in more than 22 years ago.

Rickey Lynn Lewis already had been in and out of prison five times in less than seven years when he was arrested three days after the killing of 45-year-old George Newman and attack on Newman’s fiancee in 1990 at their home in a rural area of Smith County, about 90 miles east of Dallas.

Lewis, 50, acknowledged the rape, but not the killing.

“If I hadn’t raped you, you wouldn’t have lived,” he told Newman’s fiancee, Connie Hilton, in the moments before the single lethal dose of pentobarbital was administered. “I didn’t kill Mr. Newman and I didn’t rob your house.

“I was just there. … I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through. It wasn’t me that harmed and stole all of your stuff,” he said to Hilton, who stood behind a glass window a few feet away. The Associated Press normally does not name rape victims, but Hilton, 63, agreed to be identified.

Lewis said the two people responsible for Newman’s killing are still alive. He didn’t identify them.

He told Hilton he watched her flee the house to get help. “When I saw you in the truck driving away, I could have killed you, but I didn’t,” he said. “I’m not a killer.”

Lewis thanked his friends who watched through a nearby window “for the love you gave me.”

“I thank the Lord for the man I am today. I have done all I can to better myself, to learn to read and write,” he said, appearing to choke back tears. “Take me to my king.”

As the drug began taking effect, he said he could feel it “burning my arm.”

“I feel it in my throat. I’m getting dizzy,” Lewis said before he started to snore and, seconds later, lost consciousness.

He was pronounced dead 14 minutes after the lethal dose began.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to review Lewis’ case and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted against a clemency request.

rickey-lynn-lewis

Current mugshot photo of Lewis

No last-day appeals were filed by his attorneys to try to halt the execution, the second this year in Texas.

Earlier appeals focused on whether Lewis, a ninth-grade dropout who worked as a laborer, was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under Supreme Court rulings. The claims included a suggestion from Lewis’ attorneys that the court reconsider a denial it made in his case in 2005. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused that recommendation on Monday.

Hilton declined to speak with reporters after the execution. In a first-person account she wrote of the attack, she said she got out of bed the night of Sept. 17, 1990, after her barking dog woke her and saw a man in the hallway with a shotgun.

She screamed, and Newman responded and was shot in the face. A dog in the home was also killed.

Hilton tried hiding in a bathroom, was struck at least twice in the head and then assaulted for over an hour by Lewis while the other two people Lewis claims were there stole items from the house.

She testified she was ordered to “quit whimpering,” felt a gun barrel on her and was told someone would find her in the morning.

According to court documents, she was left in the kitchen with her hands and feet bound. As Lewis and his partners fled in her truck, she managed to free herself, crawled to Newman to find him dead and then climbed out a window to seek help.

Lewis was arrested three days later after he was seen with some of the items stolen from the house. DNA evidence linked him to the attack.

“There’s still a lot of fear in the back of my mind because the other two men never were caught,” Hilton told the AP last week. “You never know if there’s going to be retaliation.

“He’s never told anyone and as far as I’m aware of, nobody knows. On the other hand, if he were to tell who was with him, that would confirm his guilt, and he’s not going to do that.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1996 upheld Lewis’ conviction but reversed his death sentence, finding jurors had faulty instructions when considering his sentence. At a new punishment trial the following year, Lewis again was sentenced to die.

Lewis’ mother, who has since died, testified a 10-year-old Lewis shot his father to protect her. Testimony indicated Lewis’ father had abused him as a child.

Records showed Lewis first went to prison in 1983 for burglary, was paroled and returned to prison as a parole violator. He continued to be a repeat offender and parole violator. His arrest on capital murder charges for Newman’s slaying came six months after his most recent release.

Evidence showed two months before the Newman shooting he stole a truck and led police on a chase. Then four days before the attack, Lewis used a sawed-off shotgun during a store robbery in Tyler.

At least 11 other Texas inmates have executions scheduled through July, including three more this month.

Source of article: Star Telegram

Oklahoma Death Row Inmate Executed Tuesday For The Murder of Three People

steven-ray-thackerMugshot photo of Steven R. Thacker

Steven Ray Thacker, now 42, was sentenced to death for the murders of three people during the Holiday Season in 1999. He was put to death by lethal injection Yesterday, March 12, 2013 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, after sitting on death row for 13 years.

Victim #1: On December 23, 1999 Laci Dawn Griffin Hill, 25, from Bixby, OK. Hill had placed a classified ad in the local newspaper in an attempt to sell her pool table. Thacker spotted the ad and figured it was a good opportunity so he answered the ad and made his way to Hill’s home where he raped, murdered and robbed her. Hill’s body was discovered in an abandoned cabin on December 29, 1999, just two days before the New Years Day 2000. Thacker used the items and money he had stolen from Hill and purchased presents for his wife and her two children. His would claim the lives of two more people until his capture on January 2, 2000.

Authorities soon identified Thacker on surveillance camera using Hill’s debit card but by then he had already made his way to his next victim in the neighboring state of Missouri, approximately 200 miles from Bixby.

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Photo of Laci Hill

Laci Hill’s Find A Grave

Victim #2: On New Years Day 2000 Thacker stabbed Forrest Reed Boyd, 25, after Boyd walked in on Thacker burglarizing his Aldrich, MO home. He stole Boyd’s vehicle and made his way down to Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Forrest Reed Boyd’s Find A Grave

Victim #3: Ray Patterson, 52, was a tow truck driver Dyersburg, TN. It just so happens that he was working at the time Thacker’s stolen vehicle broke down.  He contacted the tow service and when Patterson noticed the credit card used to pay for the service was stolen, he was stabbed to death.

forrest-boyd

Photo of Raymond Patterson

Thacker received two death sentences for the murders of Hill and Paterson. He received life without parole for pleading guilty to killing Boyd.

According to reports, he had a personality disorder but refused medication which would have helped his mood swings.

When asked if he had any last words he went on to apologize for his actions.

“”I would like to apologize sincerely to the families of Laci Hill, Forrest Boyd and Ray Patterson. I don’t deserve it, but as God has forgiven me, I hope you will forgive me for the pain I’ve caused.”

Thacker then winked at his stepfather, Donald Johnston, who silently nodded back at him. He was administered the lethal cocktails moments later at 6:03PM. He was pronounced dead at 6:10PM

When the execution was over, Nikki Hodgson, a friend of Hill’s, spoke about the experience saying it brought “a little bit of closure,” but that she didn’t believe the punishment was just.

“It is so humane,” she said of lethal injection. Thacker is “just going to sleep. It’s nothing like what the victims endured.”

“When something like this happens … you never truly move on. You just survive. It never leaves you, and this won’t make it leave you,” Marnie Reed, Hill’s best friend said after the execution.

According to the Death Penalty Information Website, last year there were 43 people on Oklahoma’s death row. Six were put to death bringing the toll down to 37, and Thacker is the first to be put to death this year which brings the toll to 36. He was the fifth death row inmate to have been put to death in the United States this year.

Frederick Treesh, Ohio Death Row Inmate, Executed This Morning After Landing On Death Row Over Eighteen Years Ago

frederick_treesh03/06/13, LUCASVILLE — A death row inmate who gunned down an adult bookstore security guard on over 18 years ago was executed this morning.

Shortly after 10AM, Frederick Treesh, 48, was led into the death chamber and strapped down. The prison system said Treesh’s veins checked out beforehand, but executioners seemed to have a little difficulty inserting the IVs.

Now, what led him to this moment?

On the night of August 27, 1994 Treesh, a former drug addict, walked into an adult store in Cleveland, OH and gunned down Henry Dupree in a cold-blooded crime-spree. After murdering the guard, he and a co-defendant robbed the store before running off. Several days prior he and his accomplice, gunned down another man working in another store.

Ghassan Danno, a Livonia, Michigan video-store owner was working the register on August 24, 1994 when Treesh and another man came in demanding money. They then took off with money and items but not before gunning down the owner.

Treesh had the opportunity to make a last statement and seemed to have alot to say. He started off by apologizing for the death of Dupree, but said he would NOT apologize to family members Danno killed who were witnessing the execution.

“I’ve never been tried, I’ve never been charged,” he said.

‘You want closure? Closure only comes with a book. You close it and put it on a shelf. There is no closure. Every holiday, every birthday, everything, you will think about the victim. So if you want me murdered, just say it,’ he said.

‘This is where drugs lead you,’ Treesh went on to say.

Treesh received a single dose of pentobarbital and was pronounced dead at 10:37AM by Donald Morgan, a prison warden of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.

A small amount of blood ran down Treesh’s right arm after one attempt, while the insertion on the left arm took a couple of attempts with the successful insertion on the inmate’s forearm. Treesh spoke a few times during the insertion process but most of his remarks were inaudible. He yawned shortly after the drug began flowing, then his mouth fell open and he was still for several minutes.

His last two words were muttered, “That’s it”, before he went silent.

Frederick Treesh’s execution came after years of denied appeals, with the most recent occurring last month where he asked for clemency and was denied. He was moved to the state death house in Lucasville last night where he was comforted by two spiritual advisers along with his attorney until approximately 7:30PM. Shortly after the visits he received his last meal which consisted of steak with deep-fried mushrooms, eggs, hash browns, onion rings, cottage cheese, sodas and for dessert he had a hot fudge sundae.

Treesh, originally from Waterloo, Indiana, was the 50th inmate put to death by the state since it resumed executions in 1999, and the fourth person executed in the US in 2013.