HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Convicted killer Bobby Lee Hines was executed Wednesday for strangling and repeatedly stabbing a suburban Dallas woman at her apartment 21 years ago.
Hines, 40, was 19 and on probation for burglary when he stabbed 26-year-old Michelle Wendy Haupt 18 times and strangled her with a cord. Haupt had moved from the Pittsburgh area to Carrollton to work at a computer company in Dallas, and Hines was staying next door with a maintenance man for her apartment complex.
Asked by a warden to make a final statement, Hines repeatedly asked for forgiveness.
"I know that I took somebody special from y'all," he said as Haupt's father stood a few feet away, watching through a window. "I know it wasn't right, it was wrong. I wish I could give it back, but I know I can't.
"I wish there was something I could do."
He said he loved his family, believed life in prison would be a worse punishment, and then declared that he was "going home."
As the lethal dose of pentobarbital was administered, he said he could feel it and was stopped in midsentence. He snored once, then slipped into unconsciousness. Twelve minutes later, at 6:28 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
"It's like a backache, it never goes away," Harold Haupt said afterward about the pain of losing his daughter. "It's always there.
"On the upside of this, Bobby Hines paid the ultimate price, a life for a life, and that's the good news. The bad news is it took 21 years, a lot of taxpayer money and all he did was go to sleep. He didn't suffer like my daughter did. He got like a forever sleeping pill."
In the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 20, 1991, a neighbor heard screaming and called police, but officers were unable to find the source. When other residents told the apartment manager later that day about screams and loud noises that sounded like a bowling ball being dropped repeatedly, they persuaded him to open Haupt's door and found her dead.
Hines was arrested that day. Hines' older brother, a manager at the complex, told police he suspected his brother was involved, according to court records. And witnesses said Hines had bragged about having a passkey that allowed him to enter anyone's apartment.
Police interviewed Hines, noticed he had scratches on his face and neck, and got consent from his roommate to search the apartment. Detectives found Haupt's blood on Hines' clothing and several things that had belonged to her, including a distinctive gold charm she wore on a necklace.
Hines was tried and convicted in March 1992.
He initially was scheduled to die in 2003, but his execution was delayed for eight years until the courts resolved claims that he was mentally impaired and, thus, ineligible for capital punishment. He was scheduled to die in May and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case, but the Dallas County district attorney's office again delayed the execution so that new DNA testing could be conducted. Those tests confirmed Hines' guilt, and the punishment was reset.
Relatives and friends of Hines filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, top agency officials and prison wardens and "all persons involved" in Hines' execution, contending their rights had been violated because Hines had been on death row more than two decades and that his lawyers had been misleading. A federal judge in Houston dismissed the suit Wednesday.
Last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected an appeal from Hines, whose lawyer argued previous attorneys failed to investigate and show how Hines had been abused by his father.
William Hughey, who was one of Hines' trial lawyers and is now a state district judge in East Texas, recalled Hines' case as one "where it was clear his childhood had significant impact as to who he was and how he ended up."
Hines, who had declined to speak with reporters, first was arrested at age 12 for auto theft and had other arrests for assault and burglary. He was on 10 years' probation when the slaying occurred.
Hines' execution was the 11th this year in Texas. Another is set for next week.