Friday, June 15, 2007

May 16, 2007

...sixteen, count 'em, sixteen Pepsi's...

Last meal: Smith had a final meal request of nine tacos, nine enchiladas, french fries, a salad with ranch dressing, beef fajitas, a bowl of picante sauce, a bowl of shredded cheese, six jalapeno peppers, a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and 16 Pepsi's.

The skinny: Smith, 41, a Kansas prison escapee was executed for killing a sheriff's deputy who was trying to pull him over for stealing $22.50 worth of gasoline from a service station.

More skinny: The victim was a deputy sheriff, nine months shy of his retirement when he was sent out on a call that two men had stolen gas from a service station.

Around midnight, the officer attempted to pull over a van that matched the description of the vehicle. Unbeknownst to him, the stolen van carried two escapees from Kansas, Charles Edward Smith and his cousin Carroll Bernard Smith. The pair had escaped from a work-release center a week earlier, and had stolen the van along with a .357 magnum revolver in Houston and were headed for New Mexico.

As officer tried to pass the van on the left, Charles Smith fired three shots into the car. One of the shots struck the man in the side, killing him. Evidence showed the officer did nothing to provoke the shooting; his firearm was still snapped in place and he was simply attempting to determine who was in the van.

The shooting prompted an extensive manhunt across West Texas that ended with a police chase and shootout. The two escapees abandoned the van and stole a truck tractor. When they approached a roadblock, they made a U-turn and a chase ensued. The two men were captured.

Upon arrest, Smith gave a complete confession, including a statement that it has been his lifelong dream to kill a cop and that he felt like his life was complete now.

Jailers testified at his trial they remembered Smith for singing the 1970s Eric Clapton rock song "I Shot the Sheriff" and amending the words to say, "But in my case it was the deputy."

Three different juries convicted Smith of the murder and three times he was sentenced to death as a result of two reversals on appeal.

Smith's cousin agreed to a life prison term and remains behind bars.

At the time of the escape, Smith had approximately one month left to serve before he would have been eligible for parole.

A story about the victim: Mexia Police Detective Javier Ybarra attended the execution. The slain officer impacted his life as a teenager according to the victim's daugther. “When he was a teenager, my dad caught him breaking into a store in Fort Stockton. Instead of taking him in and putting him in juvenile detention, he gave him the talking to of his life and made him ride in the county car for two weeks. He told me if it hadn’t been for my dad, he might be in prison. This guy had a rough childhood, too, but he didn’t go out and kill cops, he became one.”

Last words and such: Smith did not make a final statement. The execution had been delayed slightly because of difficulty finding veins for the needles carrying the drugs.

Factoids: Smith was the...

19th murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1076th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
14th murderer executed in Texas in 2007
393rd murderer executed in Texas since 1976