Texas Carries Out Nation's 1st Execution of 2009

Convicted killer Curtis Moore made his second trip to the Texas death house. Unlike some seven years ago, this time he didn't get a reprieve.

Moore, 40, received lethal injection Wednesday night for murdering three people during a night of robberies more than 13 years ago in Fort Worth, making him the first condemned killer executed in the United States this year.

He had little to say strapped to the death chamber gurney, addressing only a woman who ministers to the spiritual concerns of condemned inmates.

"I want to thank you for all the beautiful years of friendship and ministry," he told Irene Wilcox. "I love you."

Eight minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

Moore faced execution in 2002 and, like Wednesday, was taken to a small holding cell just outside the death chamber. But then he was spared less than three hours before he could have received lethal injection when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed his mental retardation claims could be reviewed. In October, after other courts rejected the mental retardation arguments, the high court refused his appeal, clearing the way for Wednesday's punishment date.

He lost a last-ditch attempt at life earlier this week when the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles refused a clemency petition.

Moore was condemned for the fatal shootings of Roderick Moore, 24, who was not related to him, and LaTanya Boone, 21, both of Fort Worth. The two were found shot to death in a roadside ditch across from a Fort Worth elementary school in November 1995.

That same night, firefighters summoned to put out a car fire found Darrel Hoyle, 21, of Fort Worth, and Henry Truevillian Jr., 20, of Forest Hill, shot and burned.

Truevillian, robbed of $5, was dead. Hoyle, robbed of $150, survived and helped lead police to the arrest of Moore and his nephew, Anthony Moore, then 17.

The three men were abducted after agreeing to meet Curtis Moore and his nephew, Anthony, at a stable where Roderick Moore boarded and trained horses. Boone was abducted from the apartment she shared with Roderick Moore, her boyfriend.

Testimony at Curtis Moore's trial showed the shootings culminated a drug ripoff, that he doused Hoyle and Truevillian with gasoline and ignited them as they were bound and in the trunk of a car.

Hoyle regained consciousness six days after he was attacked and gave information that led authorities to Moore and his nephew, who were arrested two weeks later. At the time of his arrest, Moore's hands and arms still showed burns he suffered when authorities said he tried to keep Hoyle from fleeing the flames.

Hoyle and relatives of the slaying victims also watched him die Wednesday evening but Moore never addressed them or looked toward them. They declined to speak with reporters following the execution.

At the punishment phase of his trial, prosecutors told jurors of Moore's violent past, including prison time for theft, robbery and weapon and drug possession. Testimony showed he was responsible for a stabbing while in jail awaiting trial.

Moore blamed his nephew, Anthony, who pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in exchange for two life prison terms, for the slayings and contended he tried to rescue the victims from the burning car. But he acknowledged holding them at gunpoint and ordering them hogtied and stuffed into the trunk of the car.

Moore was the first of six prisoners scheduled to die this month in Texas. Two are scheduled for next week, three the following week.

"Once again the state of Texas is quick out of the starting gate in the race to execute," said Kristin Houle, executive director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. "While other states are projected to carry out more executions than usual this year, none will even come close to overtaking Texas' status as the most active and most notorious death penalty state."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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