OKLAHOMA, USA. MAN EXECUTED FOR 1996 TRIPLE MURDER
April 18, 2006: Richard Thornburg Jr. was executed by lethal injection for killing three people over a drug debt in 1996, an Oklahoma prison spokesman said. Thornburg, 40, had been convicted in the September 28, 1996 slayings of James Poteet, 51; Terry Shepard, 39; and Keith Smith, 24, in the south-western Oklahoma town of Alex, about 50 miles south of Oklahoma City.
Thornburg and two accomplices shot the men after trying to collect a drug debt. One of Thornburg's accomplices faces execution, while the other is serving a life sentence.
While strapped to a gurney at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Thornburg apologized, said prison spokesman Jerry Massie.
"I just want to say I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused," Thornburg said. "I'm truly ashamed of my actions. I wish it could have been me. I'm sorry. I wish I could take it all back."
Thornburg was the 80th person executed by Oklahoma since 1977, one year after the US Supreme Court lifted a national death penalty ban. (Sources: Reuters, 18/04/2006)