Texas carried out its second execution of the year Tuesday night, as 50-year-old Rickey Lynn Lewis was put to death by lethal injection in Huntsville. Lewis was convicted and condemned for the fatal shooting of 45-year-old George Newman during a 1990 burglary at Newman's home in Smith County in East Texas. Lewis also raped Newman's fiancee during the break-in. She was present Tuesday night, and Lewis addressed her before the execution. "He said I'm sorry for what happened to you," according to Jason Clark with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). "He then went on to say 'if I hadn't raped you then you wouldn't have lived...If you look at the court transcripts I didn't kill Mr. Newman and I didn't rob your house, there were two other people there.'"
Lewis then made his final statement. "He said I've done all I can to better myself, I've learned to read and write, take me to my king," says Clark. "At that point, (Lewis) lost consciousness and was pronounced deceased." In addition to his former fiancee, Newman's son and daughter-in-law were also present for the execution, as were a group of Lewis' friends. There were no delays, as Lewis' appeal for clemency was denied last week by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The U.S. Supreme Court also declined to review his case.
Not everyone feels justice was served, though. Jeanne Woodford is the executive director of the group Death Penalty Focus, which opposes capital punishment. "The death penalty wastes a lot of resources that can be better spent solving unsolved homicides and unsolved rapes," she tells KTRH. Her group would rather see capital punishment replaced with life in prison without parole. "The death penalty is not a deterrent," she argues. Nevertheless, Texas is pushing on. The Lone Star State has 12 more executions scheduled for the remainder of 2013.