TEXAS (USA). MAN EXECUTED FOR KILLING 93-YEAR-OLD WOMAN
September 17, 2008: aÂ man who raped and murdered a 93-year-old woman in her Dallas-area home was executed after he apologized to his victim's relatives.
"I'm sorry for what I did," William Murray, 39, told two nephews of Rena Ratcliff who watched him through a window in the death chamber.
Murray, a former auto mechanic and laborer from Kaufman, was the ninth prisoner put to death this year in the nation's most active death-penalty state.
Murray's lawyer said appeals were exhausted. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case earlier this year. In addition, a clemency bid to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles was turned down this week.
"Yes, I did do this," Murray told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "I'm not trying to blame this on somebody else. I want people to know I'm sorry for the crime. I pray to the Lord to forgive me and I'm asking them to forgive me. That's all I can do."
Murray blamed drug problems for committing at least a dozen burglaries, including the one in February 1998 where Ratcliff was awakened while he rummaged through her bedroom. The widow hit him with her cane or walker, surprising him, and he said after that he "went crazy."
"I didn't know she was in there," he said. "I messed up. Somebody hit me from behind and I went off.
"I did what I did."
He took about $10 in change from a jar and a knife he later traded for drugs.
Murray had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for burglaries, but was released on probation after three months. The Ratcliff slaying occurred three months after his release.
Besides the burglaries, his record showed he escaped from jail while awaiting trial and sexually assaulted two other inmates while he was locked up.
Murray becomes the 22nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1121st overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: AP, 17/09/2008)