Sunday, April 24, 2005

April 20. 2005

..."I've been hanging around this popsicle stand way too long..."

Last Meal: Roberts requested three Southern fried chicken breasts, two bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, three enchiladas, ground beef, two grilled pork chops, six corn tortillas, four deviled eggs, 12 green olives with Italian ketchup, butter beans and cabbage seasoned with hambone, broccoli with cheese sauce, fried onion rings, french fries, tomato, lettuce, cheese, picante sauce, onions and jalapenos.

The skinny: Roberts, 42, was executed for the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of a 40-year-old man.

More skinny: Roberts stole a car from a woman at knifepoint at a convenience store. Fearing that the car had been reported stolen, Roberts later drove into an apartment complex parking lot and abducted the victim in his own car at knifepoint. Roberts robbed the man of his cash and ordered him to drive him out of San Antonio. Roberts ordered him out of the car on a desolate road outside the city at knifepoint. The victim lunged and Roberts stated he repeatedly stabbed him, then ran over his body as he drove away in the car. Roberts drove to Austin, called 911 and told the dispatcher he kidnaped and killed the man. In a videotaped interview with police, Roberts gave a complete confession.

A Bowie knife was recovered from the front seat of the car. An autopsy determined that the man was stabbed five times. He also suffered blunt trauma to his brain.

Leading up to...In an interview from death row, Roberts said that he was high on cocaine when he killed. "I was stoned out of my mind," he said. Lost in an unfamiliar place, he saw the man and thought, "this guy is going to take me out of the city. So I kidnapped him and his vehicle. "I guess he decided at the last minute he didn't want to be stranded, or thought he could overpower me," Roberts said. Roberts said that he first tried cocaine at age 10.

He insisted he had no desire to die but saw his execution as a way to end the loneliness and isolation of death row, which he described as "23 hours a day in a cement box." "So if you've got to spend the rest of your life like this, and if you're like me and know the Lord, then today's a good day to go," he said.

Last words and such: Roberts was upbeat and animated in the seconds before the lethal drugs were administered. "I've been hanging around this popsicle stand way too long, I want to tell you all. When I die, bury me deep, lay two speakers at my feet, put some headphones on my head and rock 'n' roll me when I'm dead. I'll see you in heaven some day." Roberts was smiling and mouthing "I love you all" to friends watching through a window, then said "I've got to go" and took his final breath.

Factoids: Roberts was the...

15th murderer executed in U.S. in 2005
959th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
5th murderer executed in Texas in 2005
341st murderer executed in Texas since 1976

Originally, there were two executions slated for today, but one won a stay.

The most known executions in Texas in one day took place on Feb. 8, 1924 when the state used its new electric chair to put five people to death.

Having two executions on the same day is just a coincidence because the dates are set by the judges who preside over the criminal cases of each inmate. The judges usually do not consult with each other and their only scheduling criteria is that no executions are performed around Christmas or Easter, officials said.

At least four more Texas inmates have execution dates for May.