|Last Words: Texas Con Calls Lethal Injection 'Awesome'|
|By COLLEEN CURRY and RUSSELL GOLDMAN (@GoldmanRussell)||Sep 24, 2012, 12:26 PM|
Convicted murderer Richard Cobb stared into the face of the Texas prison warden who attended his execution Thursday night and told him that the lethal drugs just injected into his body were "awesome."
Cobb, 29, spent a decade on death row for the murder of Kenneth Vandever, a man whom he abducted and later killed in a convenience store robbery 11 years ago. Cobb abducted Vandever, then 37, and two other women whom he shot with a shotgun and left for dead. The women survived to call police, but Vandever died.
Cobb never denied his role in the murder.
'Life is death, death is life. I hope that someday this absurdity that humanity has come to will come to an end,' Cobb said when asked for his last words. "Life is too short. I hope anyone that has negative energy towards me will resolve that. Life is too short to harbor feelings of hatred and anger. That's it, warden," he said according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution.
But Cobb wasn't finished. As the first injection entered his bloodstream, Cobb lifted his head from the gurney on which he was tied down, and craned his neck to stare at the warden who stood behind him.
"Wow!" Cobb shouted. "That is great. That is awesome! Thank you, warden! Thank you (expletive) warden!" he said.
Soon after the outburst, "his head fell back on the pillow, and his neck twisted at an odd angle, with his mouth and eyes open," the AP reported.
Fifteen minutes later he was declared dead.
Convicted murderer Jonathan Green became the 10th Texas inmate to be put to death this year when he was given a lethal injection Wednesday.
Green, 44, was convicted of kidnapping and killing a 12-year-old girl from her home in 2000. He took the girl to his home, strangled and sexually assaulted her, and then buried her in his backyard.
Detectives arrived and questioned him, then left to get a search warrant. During that time he dug up and moved the body inside his house, where detectives found it when they returned. He then denied involvement in the killing, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Wednesday, his legal team made pleas to the 5th District Court of Appeals to stay Green's execution, delaying the time of death from 6 p.m. until close to midnight, when his execution order would have expired. The appeals failed, however, and Green was given the lethal injection around 10:30 p.m.
Green told the warden that he would not have any final words before his death Wednesday night, but soon changed his mind, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"I'm an innocent man. I never killed anyone. Y'all are killing an innocent man," he said, and then looked down at the injection in his arm. "It's hurting me bad."
He was declared dead around 10:45 p.m.
On the following pages, take a closer look at Texas's 2012 death row inmates -- and their final statements of innocence, acceptance or praise for their beloved Texas Rangers baseball team. Their statements were recorded by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Cleve Foster became Texas's ninth inmate to be killed this year after the Supreme Court rejected his last-minute appeal on Sept. 25, 2012.
Foster, 48, was convicted in 2002 of helping his roommate, Sheldon Ward, kill a Fort Worth, Texas, woman and hide her body in the woods. Ward, however, wrote a death-bed note before he died in prison saying that he'd acted alone, and Foster had nothing to do with the murder.
Foster has maintained his innocence, but didn't mention that as he was executed. Instead, according to The Associated Press, he expressed love for his family and God before the drugs took effect, he began snoring and then he stopped breathing.
"When I close my eyes, I'll be with the father," he said. "God is everything. He's my life. Tonight I'll be with him."
He turned to relatives of his victims and said, "I don't know what you're going to be feeling tonight. I pray we'll all meet in Heaven."
"I want to tell ya'll, know that I love you," said Robert Wayne Harris, 40, before he was executed last week.
"Billy, I love you, English, Hart and Eloise. Dwight, take care of Dwight. I'm going home, I'm going home. I'll be all right, don't worry. I love ya'll. God bless and the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers," he said.
Harris was convicted of a 2002 mass killing in which he opened fire on people at a car wash where he had worked. Harris had been fired from the car wash three days before the shooting, in March 2002, and returned to his place of employment to kill his former coworkers. Five people were killed. He was put to death on Sept. 20.
Marvin Lee Wilson, 54, was executed in August for the murder of Jerry Robert Williams, 21, in 1994. Wilson abducted and shot Williams after a dispute. Wilson's last words before he died were, like many other inmates', "I'm ready."
"Bohannon, Peg and Kim, I love ya'll. Son, get your life right with Christ, also your mother. Give mom a hug for me and tell her that I love her. Ya'll do understand that I came here a sinner and leaving a saint. Take me home Jesus, take me home Lord, take me home Lord. I ain't left yet, must be a miracle. I am a miracle. I see you, Rich. Don't cry son, don't cry baby. I love ya'll. I'm ready."
Yokamon L. Hearn, who was put to death in July, was convicted of killing a 26-year-old man and stealing his wallet in 1998. Hearn, 33, and three other men approached the victim with a gun, forced him into his own car, took him to a deserted area, and shot him 12 times in the head and upper body, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
"Yes, I would like to tell my family that I love ya'll and I wish ya'll well. I'm ready."
Beunka Adams, 29, was convicted of a 2002 robbery and murder and was put to death in April of this year. He was found guilty of entering a convenience store, robbing a 24-year-old man, shooting him in the head and then attempting to kidnap, rob and sexually assault two women. He then fled the scene with money.
"First, I want to let my mom know not to cry. There is no reason to cry, everybody dies. Everybody has their time, don't worry about me. I'm strong. To my family: my old man, my kids, daddy is sorry. I love each and every one of you. I'll be looking for you. To my wife, I love you. The last two years have been the best. All my kids, mom, nieces and nephews, I am proud of all of ya'll. I love each and every one of ya'll. I really love ya'll."
Jesse Joe Hernandez was given the death penalty last March for the murder of an 11-month-old baby in 2001. Hernandez was babysitting the child and the child's older sister when he hit both of the kids with a flashlight. The girl survived, but the 11-month-old died.
Hernandez, 47, was one of many prisoners to comment on how the chemicals injected into his body felt as the state was executing him.
"Tell my son I love him very much. God bless everybody. Continue to walk with God. Go Cowboys! Love ya'll man. Don't forget the T-ball. Ms. Mary, thank you for everything that you've done. You too, Brad, thank you. I can feel it, taste it, not bad."
Keith Steven Thurmond, of Magnolia, Texas, was put to death earlier this year despite his insistence that he was innocent. Thurmond had been found guilty for the 2001 murder of his estranged wife and her boyfriend, who were both shot at the woman's home.
He used his last words on March 7, 2012, to maintain his innocence.
"All I want to say is I'm innocent, I didn't kill my wife. Jack Leary shot my wife, then her dope dealer Guy Hernandez. Don't hold it against me, Bill. I swear to God I didn't kill her. Go ahead and finish it off. You can taste it."
George Rivas, 41, escaped from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, robbed a sporting goods store at gunpoint and killed a police officer who responded to the crime scene. He was captured, found guilty and sentenced to death. He told the world that he was "ready to go" when he was executed last February.
"Yes, I do. First of all for the Aubrey Hawkins family, I do apologize for everything that happened. Not because I am here, but for closure in your hearts. I really believe that you deserve that. To my wife, Cheri, I am so grateful you're in my life. I love you so dearly. Thank you to my sister and dear friend Katherine Cox, my son and family, friends and family. I love you so dearly.
"To my friends, all the guys on the row, you have my courtesy and respect. Thank you to the people involved and to the courtesy of the officers. I am grateful for everything in my life. To my wife, take care of yourself. I will be waiting for you. I love you. God Bless. I am ready to go."
Rodrigo Hernandez, 38, was the first Texas inmate to be put to death in 2012. He was sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and killing of a 38-year-old woman whom he saw in a grocery store parking lot. As he tried to abduct and sexually assault her by placing his hands around her neck, he killed her, and then placed her body in a garbage can in a nearby park when he realized she was dead.
Hernandez was the first inmate this year to tell corrections officers, "I'm ready," in his last words.
"Yes, I want to tell everybody that I love everybody. Keep your heads up. We are all family, people of God Almighty. We're all good. I'm ready."