Texas has executed a man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend nearly a decade ago.

Before his execution Thursday evening, Robert Jean Hudson repeatedly expressed love to his wife and a friend who watched through a window and ignored four relatives of his victim as they watched through another window into the death chamber.

"I will take you to heaven with me," Hudson said from the death chamber gurney. "I will always be with you."

Hudson, 45, was the 18th inmate put to death this year in Texas, which carries out more executions than any other U.S. state. Hudson's execution was the last scheduled in Texas for this year. At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to die next year, including six in January.

Hudson stabbed Edith Kendrick, 35, to death and seriously wounded her 8-year-old son in the 1999 attack at her house near Dallas.

Defense attorneys didn't question the three-time parolee was responsible for the slaying but faulted his trial lawyers for not presenting to a jury mitigating evidence "that this was a crime of passion, and significantly reduced Mr. Hudson's moral culpability," Maurie Levin, Hudson's lawyer, wrote in her petition seeking a Supreme Court reprieve and review.

The top U.S. court refused the appeal Thursday.