Sunday, March 13, 2005

March 8, 2005

...a bowl of thick white gravy...

Last Meal: Hopper requested six eggs over easy, ten biscuits, twelve pieces of bacon, a bowl of grits, a bowl of thick white gravy, strawberry perserves, fried chicken, french fries and chocolate meringue pie.

The skinny: Hopper, 49, a former auto insurance appraiser, was executed for killing a Dallas-area physician's wife. He collected $1,500 for the murder.

More skinny: Hopper was condemned for being the hit man in a complicated scheme initiated by a woman bitter because her soon-to-be ex-husband was dating the murder victim. She had been raped, choked with pantyhose, shot twice in the head, had tissue jammed down her throat and was tied naked to a four-poster bed. Her then 4-year-old son found her unconscious. She died two days later.

The case: It was years, however, before police could unravel the case, which became one of the most intricate and complex ever in Dallas County and took authorities to Canada, Mexico and Europe.

Hopper was one of about a half-dozen people convicted of charges related to the scheme. Hopper had posed as a flower delivery man to get into his victim's house.

Hopper had no previous prison record but had been arrested in 1976 in Houston for indecent exposure and in 1984 for theft related to a pickpocket incident at a Richardson shopping mall. When initially questioned by police about the Gailiunas slaying, he fled and eluded detectives for six months.

Last words and such: Asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Hopper turned toward four members of his victim's family, including the son who discovered his mother's body, and said he was sorry. ``I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. The things I did changed so many lives. I can't take it back. It was an atrocity. I am sorry. I beg your forgiveness. I know I am not worthy of it,'' he said, his voice breaking with emotion. Then he turned his head toward a second window, where his parents were among those watching. He told them he loved them and thanked them ``for everything.'' Hopper said a brief prayer, which his mother repeated with him.

Factoids: Hopper was the...

8th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
952nd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
4th murderer executed in Texas in 2005
340th murderer executed in Texas since 1976