An apologetic James Allridge, whose case attracted the attention of celebrity capital punishment opponents, has been executed for killing a Fort Worth, Texas, convenience store clerk 19 years ago.
His brother was also executed for murder in 1995.
Speaking slowly and quietly with his voice halting at times, Allridge thanked his family and friends for loving him and expressed remorse.
"I am sorry. I really am," he said in a brief final statement. "I am sorry I destroyed y’all’s life," he said looking at the family of his victim. "Thank you for forgiving me. To the moon and back, I love you all."
"I leave you all as I came - in love," he said. Nine minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
Allridge, 41, executed in Huntsville, was the 12th Texas inmate executed this year.
Allridge was visited last month by actress Susan Sarandon, who purchased some of his prison-made artwork and for years corresponded with him.
Sarandon, 57, won an Academy Award in 1996 for her portrayal of death penalty opponent Helen Prejean in the movie version of the New Orleans-based nun’s book Dead Man Walking.
Prejean was among the people who witnessed the execution. She whispered a brief prayer after Allridge slipped into unconsciousness and comforted Allridge’s relatives.
Allridge's brother, Ronald, was put to death in 1995 for killing a woman during the robbery of a Fort Worth fast-food restaurant, part of a two-month crime spree that targeted convenience stores and fast-food places.
"Our parents have lost their second son by lethal injection to the state of Texas," two of Allridge’s brothers, who also witnessed the execution, said in a statement. "Their pain is incomprehensible. Our fractured, but thriving family will endure."
Unlike his brother, who had also served time for killing a classmate at age 15, the crime wave appeared to be out of character for James Allridge, who had no previous criminal record.
He was described as a good student and hard worker but someone who fell under the control and demands of an older violent brother who intimidated him.
Two other sets of brothers have received lethal injection in Texas, which by far leads the nation in carrying out the death penalty. Prison records show four pairs of brothers were put to death in the 1920s and 1930s, when the electric chair was the method of punishment.
Source: Irish Examiner