A condemned killer said somebody else was responsible for the two murders he was sentenced to die for moments before he was executed Wednesday night.
Keith Thurmond was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m., 11 minutes after the lethal dose was administered into his body. He was executed for the 2001 murders of his estranged wife Sharon and her live-in boyfriend Guy Fernandes near Magnolia.
“All I want to say is that I’m innocent,” Thurmond said before his death sentence was carried out. “I didn’t kill my wife. ... I swear to God I did not kill her.”
Thurmond then ordered prison officials to carry out the execution and he began struggling to breath before losing consciousness. He was the third Texas inmate to be put to death this year.
The lethal injection was carried out an hour after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal to halt it. Thurmond’s attorneys argued that the lawyers representing him in earlier appeals were “grossly deficient” and his execution should be postponed until the high court decided a similar case in Arizona.
The killings occurred after Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies showed up at Thurmond’s mobile home on Sept. 25, 2001, with a court order removing his 8-year-old son and putting the boy in the care of his mother.
Thurmond became irate and stormed down the road to the mobile home where his 32-year-old wife, Sharon, was living with her new boyfriend, Fernandes, 35, near Magnolia.
Thurmond’s brother, Tom, who was at Thurmond’s home, heard gunshots and looked out the door. He saw Thurmond standing over his wife with a gun in his hand.
At the 2002 capital murder trial, Keith and Sharon Thurmond’s son testified that he saw his father shoot his mother repeatedly in the yard behind Fernandes’ mobile home.
Thurmond surrendered to police after a two-hour standoff.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.