- A 70-year-old death row inmate was executed in Texas on Thursday night for the 1989 murder of his estranged wife’s family.
- Chaos broke out after the inmate’s son began shouting and pounding on the death chamber windows as his father received the lethal injection. Two men were ultimately arrested on charges of resisting officers.
- There have been 1,493 people executed in the U.S. since 1976, with the most deaths occurring in Texas.
The son of a 70-year-old inmate on death row tried to interfere with his father’s execution – shouting and pounding on the glass of his death chamber before ultimately being arrested and removed after an altercation with officers, according to a report from the Associated Press.
“Yes sir, that will be five dollars,” the inmate, Billie Wayne Coble, said into the microphone hanging above his gurney before receiving the lethal injection. “I love you, I love you, and I love you. Mike, I love you. Where’s Nelly at? I love you. That will be five dollars. Take care.”
As Coble finished his final words, his son, Gordon Coble, and his grandson Dalton, became emotional, reported the Houston Chronicle. His son started to curse, throw fists and kick at others in the witness area as he watched his father’s death. After they continued to resist officers, they were ultimately removed before the execution ended and taken to a local jail. Gordon’s wife Nelly followed the pair.
“Why are you doing this?” a woman at the scene asked. “They just killed his daddy.”
Three decades ago, in the summer of 1989, Coble – a Vietnam veteran with no prior criminal convictions – killed the parents and brother of his estranged wife, Karen Zelda. He later boasted about the killings to Zelda, according to court records seen by the Marshall Project, telling her, “Karen, I’ve killed your momma and your daddy and your brother. And they are all dead, and nobody is going to come help you now.”
Over the years, state and federal judges denied Coble’s appeals to hear his case. On Thursday, the US Supreme Court also turned down his request to delay the execution and it was carried through that night. He was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, reported KCEN TV. Coble was the oldest inmate executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982, and, according to ABC News, was once described by prosecutors as having “a heart full of scorpions.”
Coble was the third inmate executed this year, and the second so far in Texas. There have been 1,493 people executed in the U.S. since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, with the most deaths occurring in Texas. There are five more executions slated to occur in the state this year.