HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A man convicted of killing five people including his ex-wife in a 1997 shooting rampage near Houston was put to death Wednesday.
Coy Wesbrook's lethal injection was the eighth this year nationally and fourth in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any state. Two Georgia inmates have been executed so far in 2016, plus one each in Alabama and Florida.
Before being executed, the 58-year-old Wesbrook apologized profusely to some of his victims' relatives who witnessed the punishment.
"I want to say that I'm sorry for the pain that I have caused you people," he said. "I'm sorry I can't bring everybody back. I wish things could have been a lot different."
Wesbrook said he loved his daughter and all his supporters. "I pray that the Lord take care of me and all of you," he said.
He concluded by telling relatives of his victims that he "can understand your outrage and why you are mad at me. God be with all of us."
As the lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital took effect, he took two deep breaths, then began snoring. A few seconds later, all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead at 8:04 p.m. CST.
The execution was delayed about 90 minutes. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said prison officials had anticipated an additional appeal would be filed by a death penalty opponent whose appeal hours earlier was rejected by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal court.
That appeal sought another review of claims that Wesbrook was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we waited, and when nothing was filed, we went forward (with the execution)," Clark said.
Wesbrook killed his ex-wife, Gloria Jean Coons, 32; her roommate, Diana Ruth Money, 43; and three men: Antonio Cruz, 35, Anthony Ray Rogers, 41, and Kelly Hazlip, 28.
Wesbrook, a former security guard and delivery driver, married Coons in 1995. They divorced the following year but continued seeing each other. They had lunch Nov. 12, 1997, and talked about reconciling. That was on his mind when he showed up that night at her apartment in Channelview, just east of Houston. Instead, he found people partying.
He testified at his 1998 trial that Coons humiliated him by having sex with two of the men at the party while he was there. He said when he tried to leave, Cruz grabbed the keys to his truck and joined others in taunting him. He said he "lost it," walked out, grabbed a rifle he kept in the truck and returned, shooting each person once. Coons was the final victim.
Court records show the five shots were fired within 40 seconds. Each victim was shot at close range.
Neighbors who heard the gunfire and called police saw Wesbrook emerge from the apartment, place the rifle inside his truck and stand calmly by the tailgate of the pickup to wait for sheriff's deputies to arrive.
"If I could change things and turn back time and bring all these people back and I could be in my right mind and not under the influence of any alcohol, none of this would have taken place," Wesbrook said recently from death row.
At least 10 other Texas inmates are scheduled to be executed in the coming months, including two later this month.