Texas To Execute 70-Year-Old Convicted Murderer


A 70-year-old convicted murderer is scheduled Thursday to become the oldest man executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in the US five decades ago.

Billie Wayne Coble was convicted for the 1989 murders of three people — the parents and brother of his estranged wife, who had asked for a divorce.

If the lethal injection is administered Thursday evening in the Texas death chamber in Huntsville, it would be the third this year in the United States and the second in the Lone Star state, which puts to death the most inmates.

A state official confirmed that Coble would be the oldest man executed in Texas since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The oldest in the US was serial bomber Walter Moody, executed last year in Alabama at the age of 83.

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Inmates can languish on death row for decades as their cases wind through the courts.

There are nearly 30 condemned inmates in Texas who have been in prison for more than 25 years, according to the Texas Tribune.

Coble’s lawyer has filed a last-minute appeal with the Supreme Court, but previous appeals have been unsuccessful.

Coble, a Vietnam War veteran, was convicted of killing his brother-in-law Bobby Vicha, who was a police officer in the city of Waco, and Vicha’s parents Robert and Zelda.

Prosecutors said he also tied up his children and Bobby Vicha’s son, and kidnapped his wife with the intention of raping and killing her. She escaped with her life after Coble crashed his car.

‘Discredited testimony’ 

Bobby Vicha’s son JR, who was 11 years old at the time, told television station KXXV that he and his cousins were tied up for hours.

“Through the whole thing, I didn’t really know what was going on,” Vicha said.

“I was a prosecutor for eight years, so every day I dealt with criminals,” he added. “I’ve never dealt with anybody that I thought was as bad or as evil as he is.”

In the latest appeal to the Supreme Court, Coble’s current attorney claims the convict’s trial lawyers did not present the defense he had wanted.

“Coble did not agree with his lawyers’ decision to drop altogether any semblance of a defense at the guilt phase and concede his guilt,” the court filing said.

In previous appeals, his lawyers focused on the sentencing phase of the trial, saying irregularities and faulty testimony did not allow for proper consideration of a lesser sentence.

The American Civil Liberties Union said this week that two experts who had testified in support of Coble getting the death penalty have since been discredited.

“That Coble will be executed on such discredited testimony is unconscionable,” the civil liberties group said.

“The example of his case already shows all who are willing to look why the death penalty is never justice.”

Twenty-five people were put to death last year in the US, more than half in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.


Court Stops Execution Of Murderer With Rare Illness



The US Supreme Court on Tuesday night stayed the execution of a convicted murderer-rapist after lawyers and advocates warned the punishment could subject him to intense suffering because of his rare illness.

Russell Bucklew had been scheduled to die by lethal injection in the state of Missouri.

“The United States Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution for Russell Bucklew, pending further review of his appeal,” the Missouri Department of Corrections said in a statement which gave no reason for the decision.

It was Bucklew’s second stay of execution in four years.

He has an uncommon vascular condition that leaves him with growths on his head and neck. This creates significant risk that subjecting him to lethal injection will result in torture, rights activists argue.

Defense lawyer Cheryl Pilate said his malformed veins could lead to an “execution atrocity” and there is “grave risk” of his meeting an excruciating end.

A tormented and painful death would violate the United States Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

Bucklew, 49, has been on death row for two decades for the 1996 killing of a love rival and raping a former girlfriend.

He escaped from prison shortly after his arrest by hiding in a trash can. During his two days of freedom, he attacked with a hammer the mother of his ex-girlfriend. She survived.

Bucklew was to be put to death in 2014 but received his first stay of execution from the Supreme Court, after a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma stirred fresh debate about capital punishment.

The American Civil Liberties Union said there is “substantial risk” that Bucklew would choke during a lethal injection because his airway is compromised by a vascular tumor.

This would cause him to suffocate and undergo excruciating pain, the group said. It also warned that the tumor could burst, causing heavy bleeding and leading to “torturous” punishment.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for Bucklew’s death sentence to be commuted.


Police Arrest Man For Murder Of Two Pupils In Ogun

FILE PHOTO Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmed Iliyasu


The Ogun State Police Command says it has arrested a man who allegedly murdered two school pupils at Agodo in the Ogun waterside area of the state.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Abimbola Oyeyemi, the suspect was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday, two days after the crime was committed.

The police team led by ACP Makinde Kayode comprises of officers attached to Ogbere Area Command and local hunters in the area.

“The suspect who was identified as Lekan Adebisi broke into the compound of St. John Anglican school Agolo with cutlass and hacked two pupils of the school to death after which he ran away,” Kayode said in a statement.

He said his team swung into action following a directive from the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Iliyasu, to track down the suspect within the shortest possible time.

He added, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Iliyasu, gave a marching order to the Area commander Ogbere and Divisional Police Officer Abigi Division to fish out the suspect within the shortest possible time.

“In compliance with the CP order, the area commander mobilised police officers and local hunters for the manhunt for the suspect. Their efforts paid off in the early hour of today when the suspect was found in a bush around the community.”

In a bid to evade arrest, the police said, the suspect brandished a cutlass, which prompted officers to shoot in the leg.

He was subsequently taken to hospital for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, the police boss has directed that the case should be transferred to Homicide section of State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for proper investigation.