Thursday, January 15, 2004

January 14, 2004

...$10 and some costume jewelry...

Last Meal: Double Meat cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and mayo, french fries, orange juice and pecan pie.

The skinny: Bruce, 32, was executed for fatally shooting a woman after robbing her and her husband of inexpensive jewelry and less than $10.

Bruce, a 19-year-old high school student at the time working as a pizza delivery driver, left work early. Later that evening, Bruce and two others appeared at the home of the victim and her husband, claiming to have car trouble and looking for jumper cables. They eventually forced their way into the home at gunpoint, ransacked the home, and ordered them to lay face down on a mattress in the bedroom. Both were then shot. The attackers then left the house with several jewelry boxes and most of the phones that were in the house.

"They stole some jewelry and small things like that. Within an hour, they had discarded the items on the side of the road," said a former assistant district attorney.

Upon arrest, Bruce initially gave an oral statement and a videotaped statement in which he denied participating in any of the shootings, although he admitted he was present when they occurred. The police later found property of the victims in the front seat of Bruce’s car. Bruce then admitted shooting the victim during the second round of shooting; however, he claimed he aimed for her leg or the lower part of her body. Accomplice Eric Lynn Moore also received a death sentence. Accomplices Sam Andrews and Anthony Quinn Bruce received a life sentences.

Legal tidbit: Under state law, winning a capital murder conviction did not require prosecutors to prove that Mr. Bruce fired the fatal shot. Instead, jurors had to find only that he participated in the crime while knowing that someone could be killed.

Last words and such: In the death chamber, Bruce first addressed the family of his victim and then spoke to his family. "To the family of Mrs. Ayers, I would like to apologize for all the pain and suffering and that God gives you closure. And I pray that he blesses you," he said. Bruce then told his family, "I may not be with you in the physical but by grace my heart will be with you all and I know God loves every one of you all." Bruce's mother wept loudly and was allowed to sit in a wheelchair when she was unable to stand on her own.

Factoids: Bruce declined to speak to reporters from death row. On a Web site where prisoners seek pen pals, he described himself as a song writer and poet interested in sports, reading and music.

Bruce was the....

6th murderer executed in U.S. in 2004
891st murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Texas in 2004
315th murderer executed in Texas since 1976