Willie Shannon was smiling as he lay on the gurney preparing for his death by lethal injection, but asked the family of Benjamin Garza not to take offense.

“It is not from my happiness,” Shannon said. “Don’t take my smile for disrespect. If I see your father I will ask his forgiveness.”

Shannon was convicted for the 1992 murder of Garza during a car jacking gone wrong. Garza was waiting for his wife and children in his car outside a shopping center in southwest Houston when Shannon approached him. After briefly struggling with Garza, Shannon shot him in the head, kicked him out of the car and drove off. He was arrested in Beaumont hours later.

Even in his final statement, Shannon insisted he had no intention of killing Garza.

“It took a father from his family. It wasn’t my fault, it was an accident,” Shannon said. “God knows the truth. If I see your father I will ask for his forgiveness. I told the judge the truth, it was an accident. I’ll smile and am not sad. If my life could make you happy, be free.”

Shannon gave one final send off to his mother, saying he had no anger or fear and he would see her soon. Several of his friends were present at the execution, hands pressed against the viewing glass, offering quiet prayers, softly repeating the words, “thank you, Jesus.” All four had white, silk flowers tied to their wrists with a white ribbon.

Ten minutes later at 6:24 p.m, he was pronounced dead.

Shannon has said his gun went off as the two men struggled in a parking lot when the Lubbock man refused to surrender his station wagon.

Shannon was the 24th Texas prisoner executed this year in the nation’s most active capital punishment state.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon turned down a request from Shannon’s lawyers to stay the execution.

Garza, 38, was trying to catch a catnap in a parking lot while his wife and three kids were shopping nearby for some shoes when Shannon jumped inside, pulled his gun and demanded the family’s 15-year-old Ford wagon.

Shannon fired three shots, one of them striking Garza in the head. He kicked his victim out of the station wagon and to the parking lot pavement, then sped away, driving over Garza’s hand as he fled.

Shannon wrecked the car hours later in Chambers County, about 50 miles east of Houston. And when a sheriff’s deputy approached Shannon to ask him about the accident, he ran off into some nearby woods. He was arrested about five hours after the shooting at a truck stop in Beaumont, 30 miles to the east, when a security guard spotted a man with a pistol in his pants looking for rides and notified police. Shannon tried to run away again, but was captured after a brief chase.

One more execution is scheduled for this year in Texas. If Charles Nealy is put to death next week, Texas will wind up the year with 25 executions, up three from last year but about average for the past decade. A record 40 Texas prisoners were executed in 2000.

At least five inmates already have execution dates in January.