Tuesday, February 10, 2009
HUNTSVILLE, Texas —A Louisiana man condemned for strangling and drowning a suburban Dallas woman, charged with a second slaying and blamed for the rapes of at least five other women was executed Tuesday evening.
Asked if he had any final statement, Dale Devon Scheanette paused and said, "My only statement is that no cases ever tried have been error-free. Those are my words. No cases are error-free."
Nine minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow, he was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m.
Six relatives of the two slain women watched Scheanette take his final breath. He never looked at them.
Scheanette, 35, became known as the "Bathtub Killer" after two women at the same apartment complex in Arlington in 1996 were found dead in half-filled bathtubs, strangled, raped and bound with duct tape.
The slayings terrorized the Dallas-Fort Worth area and went unsolved for more than three years, until Scheanette was arrested for a burglary and his fingerprints were tied to the killings. DNA strengthened the confirmations and pointed to his involvement in the other rapes.
"He personifies evil," said Greg Miller, the Tarrant County district attorney who prosecuted Scheanette in 2003. "I've been doing this 35, 36 years. I've had others who have killed and done bad things. But he's at the top of the list."
Scheanette was sent to death row for the Christmas Eve 1996 slaying of Wendie Prescott, 22, and charged but not tried for killing Christine Vu, 25, three months earlier. He was the seventh condemned inmate executed in Texas this year and the first of two set to die this week.
Scheanette, acting as his own lawyer, had appeals rejected Monday in the federal appeals courts. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also voted 7-0 to turn down a clemency request.
A woman identifying herself as Scheanette's sister filed a three-page handwritten motion on his behalf Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a reprieve so he could get a court review of the appeals rejected Monday. The high court turned down the appeal less than an hour before Scheanette was scheduled to die.
Scheanette declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared. At his trial, lawyers tried to show the evidence was insufficient to convict him.
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