Thursday, July 03, 2003

July 2, 2003

Uncle Hilty...

Last Meal: For his last meal, Crawford requested 12 beef ribs, three enchiladas, chicken fried steak with cream gravy, a crispy bacon sandwich, a bowl of ketchup, a loaf of bread, french fries, onion rings, three colas and three root beers and cobbler.

The skinny: Crawford was executed for the abduction and slaying of a 12-year old boy almost eight years ago. Crawford was known to his 12-year-old victim as "Uncle Hilty,"

Alibi: The former Beaumont police officer and sheriff's deputy acknowledged being present when the boy was fatally beaten and shot after he was grabbed from his home. But Crawford insisted that the killer in a kidnap-for-ransom scheme that went awry was a mysterious accomplice known to him as R.L. Remington, a man he met at a Louisiana race track.

Prosecutors said Remington was a figment of Crawford's imagination.

The investigation led to Crawford, who was facing huge credit card and gambling debts.

Last words and such:Crawford nodded and smiled to witnesses, asking for forgiveness and expressing love for his family.

"I thank Jesus Christ. I had an opportunity to serve Jesus Christ; I'm very thankful for that," he said, as a small wooden cross dangled from a cord around his neck.

The victim's mother was standing behind a window just a few feet from her son's killer when he turned toward her and said, "I want to ask Paulette for forgiveness from your heart. One day I hope you will. It's a tragedy for my family and your family. I am sorry."

He asked a witness to deliver a yellow rose to his wife, Connie. He told his wife, who wasn't present, that he loved her and his sons. "They were the greatest gift from God."

"May God pass me over to the kingdom's shore softly and gently," he said.

"I'm ready," he said just before the dose of lethal drugs began.

Factoids: At 64, Crawford was the second-oldest of the state's 451 condemned killers, earning him the nickname "Old Man" among some of his prison colleagues. He also became the second-oldest of the 306 Texas inmates to receive lethal injection since the state began using that method of capital punishment in 1982.

Crawford's execution was the 17th in Texas this year and 306th since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.

Another three executions are scheduled for later this month, and at least four more are on the calendar for August.

This summary was compiled from various news accounts.