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Larry Wooten Execution: 17th Man Put to Death in Texas This Year

Larry Wooten (AP)
Larry Wooten Execution: 17th Man Put to Death in Texas This Year
Larry Wooten (AP)

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (CBS/AP) Larry Wooten cried as he lay on an execution gurney Thursday while lethal drugs were administered to the convicted murderer.

Wooten was condemned to death for brutally beating and stabbing 80-year-old Grady Alexander and his 86-year-old wife, Bessie, in their Paris, Texas home fourteen years ago.

The couple was beaten with a cast-iron skillet and a pistol, stabbed, had their throats slit and heads nearly severed for $500 Wooten wanted to spend on cocaine.

Wooton, 51, failed to mention the Alexanders during his final statement Thursday.

"I don't have nothing to say," Wooten said. "You can go ahead and send me home to my heavenly father."

Wooten's two sisters watched their brother take his last breath and prayed as officials administered the deadly chemicals into his system.

Between 10 to 15 anti-death penalty protesters stood outside the prison objecting to Wooten's execution in America's most active death penalty state - Wooten was the 17th man put death in Texas this year. One woman proclaimed on a bullhorn, "The state of Texas has committed another murder."

Wooten maintained that he didn't kill the Alexanders, for whom he formerly worked doing odd jobs. He told authorities that he went to their home in Paris, northeast of Dallas, found the bodies and fled.

However, DNA evidence including blood found on the Alexanders' kitchen floor matched Wooten, helping to convict him. Investigators also found a pair of Wooten's pants stained with Grady Alexander's blood near an area where Wooten bought drugs around the time of the murders.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Wooten's attorneys argued he wouldn't have turned down a plea bargain if he knew about additional DNA evidence that didn't become available until after his trial began.

Wooten apparently turned down a plea agreement of life in prison after DNA experts working for his trial attorneys believed the blood evidence wasn't substantial enough to connect him to the crime. However, after the trial began, additional lab results showed the DNA evidence was stronger than Wooten's team originally thought, according to appeal documents.

Prosecutor for the case, Kery Ashmore, claimed he never misrepresented the strength of the DNA evidence.

In prior appeals, Wooten claimed he should not be executed because he was mentally retarded. His claim was denied after results from an IQ test did not support the notion that he was mentally impaired.

"If you are going to have a death penalty, this is the kind of people you want to have the death penalty for," said Ashmore.