HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A man who beat his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter to death because she was crying was executed Wednesday night.
"I am sorry that the child had to lose her life, but I should not have to be here," Robert Salazar Jr., said in a final statement. "Tell my family I love them all and I will see them in heaven."
Salazar, 27, was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m., seven minutes after the lethal dose began to flow.
Adriana Gomez was killed in 1997. Salazar, of Lubbock, told police he pushed the girl with the back of his hand, causing her to fall down in a bathtub and hit her head.
A pathologist, however, testified that Salazar, in a violent rage, inflicted injuries on Adriana that were worse than those suffered by victims of auto accidents.
"I've never shed tears over a victim the way I did over that little girl," said Rusty Ladd, who helped prosecute the case for the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday rejected requests to commute Salazar's sentence to life or halt the execution.
A state court and a federal appeals court turned down requests by Salazar's attorney to stop the execution based on claims the inmate was mentally retarded. There were no appeals to the Supreme Court.
Salazar was the sixth prisoner put to death this year in Texas and the second of four scheduled to die this month in the nation's busiest capital punishment state.