Sunday, June 10, 2007

March 29, 2007

...Prison officials credited a chaplain for calming Pippin, who set a fire in his cell hours before he was scheduled to die...

Last Meal: Pippin had no final meal request.

The skinny: Pippin was executed for the shooting deaths of two Florida men in Houston 13 years ago.

Prison officials credited a chaplain for calming Pippin, who set a fire in his cell hours before he was scheduled to die.

More skinny: Roy Lee Pippin owned and operated an air conditioning business in Houston, which he used to launder Colombian drug money.

Pippin realized that approximately $1.8-$2 million in drug proceeds were missing and suspected two men, cousins from Florida. Pippin immediately notified his “supervisor” referred to as “Alfredo” who instructed him to rent a van and some motel rooms.

Following these orders, Pippin rented a white panel van and reserved two rooms at a motel on April 27, 1994. At Pippin’s request, one of his employees abducted two cousins and took the two men to the motel where they were held captive. During the days that followed the men were taken to Pippin’s house or southwest Houston warehouse several times and repeatedly questioned about the missing money. On the morning of Wednesday, May 4, 1994, Pippin shot both cousins at the warehouse.

Though fatally wounded, one man escaped the warehouse after Pippin left. Police found him next door, and he told police that Roy Pippin shot him. The man died from his wounds at the hospital later that day.

At his trial, Pippin admitted to participating in the aggravated kidnappings of the two but denied killing any of them or even being present when they were killed. Pippin, who claimed to have moved as much as $600 million in drug proceeds, blamed the slayings on others in the drug ring.

Hunger strike: For years, he railed about conditions on death row and earlier this week ended a six-week hunger strike to protest the living conditions and the lethal injection method he faced. He broke the fast with a piece of carrot cake and a sandwich purchased by a friend from a vending machine in the prison’s visiting area.

The most recent hunger strike was not Pippin’s first. Letters from Pippin posted to the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty’s website said that Pippin went on a hunger strike note that Pippin has held at least two hunger strikes in the last 6 years.

Last words and such: Pippin had warned in the weeks before his punishment that he would not go quietly. Just before he was taken from death row near Livingston to the Huntsville, about 45 miles to the west, where executions are carried out, he piled up trash in front of his cell door and set it on fire, using a piece of wire he stuck in an electric outlet to ignite it. Officers responded with a water hose to extinguish the blaze. The fire generated smoke but no damage or injuries. Pippin was taken to a medical clinic at the unit, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

When he arrived at the Huntsville Unit, Pippin repeated his intention to not cooperate, but his conversations with a chaplain, whom prison officials did not identify, cooled his anger. He then walked himself to the Texas death chamber. "Throughout the afternoon, you could see his demeanor changing," Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons.

"I charge the people of the jury, trial judge, the prosecutor that cheated to get this conviction. I charge each and every one of you with the murder of an innocent man. You will answer to your maker when you find out you have executed an innocent man. May God have mercy on your souls."" Pippin again admitted his role laundering drugs and money and said, "I ask forgiveness for all of the poison I helped bring into the U.S., the country I love. If my murder makes it easier for everyone else, let the forgiveness be part of the healing." He also expressed his love to his family, including his son and daughter, before he concluded with: "That's it. Warden, go ahead and murder me." As the lethal drugs began to flow at 6:34 p.m., Pippin uttered: "Jesus, take me home."

Factoids: Pippin was the...

12th murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1069th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
11th murderer executed in Texas in 2007
390th murderer executed in Texas since 1976