HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Chaos erupted outside the Texas death chamber on Thursday night when the condemned convict's son pounded the windows of the room, shouted obscenities and threw out his fists after his father uttered his last words.
Billie Wayne Coble, a veteran of the Vietnam War who killed the parents and his wife's brother, and who fears to do the same, in 1989, told the five witnesses that he had chosen to do so. to attend his performance that he loved them. Coble nodded as they watched from the witness room, adding, "Take care of yourself."
When he finished speaking, his son, a friend and a daughter-in-law became emotional, punching and hitting other people in the death witness area. Officers intervened but said the witnesses continued to resist and were eventually transferred to a yard where the son and another man were handcuffed. They were arrested for resisting an officer.
"Why do you do that?" the woman asked. "They just killed his dad."
As men were exposed outside, only one dose of pentobarbital was injected into Coble. He gasped several times and began to snore as the lethal dose of drugs was administered inside the death chamber of Huntsville State Penitentiary.
His death was declared 11 minutes later, at 18:24.
Coble, 70, was the oldest prisoner executed by Texas since the return of capital punishment in 1982. He was sentenced three decades ago for the shooting death of Robert and Zelda Vicha, in August 1989, and their son, Bobby Vicha, in separate homes in Axtell, northeast of Waco.
Prosecutors once described Coble as having "a heart full of scorpions".
Coble, distraught by his pending divorce, has abducted his wife, Karen Vicha. He was arrested and released on bail. Nine days after the kidnapping, Coble went to her home, where he handcuffed and tied up her three daughters and nephew, J.R. Vicha, according to investigators.
Coble then returned to the home of Robert and Zelda Vicha, aged 64 and 60 respectively, and Bobby Vicha, 39, who lived nearby and shot them dead.
After Karen Vicha returned home, Coble abducted her. He drove away, assaulted and threatened to rape and kill her. He was arrested after destroying the vehicle in Bosque County, as a result of a lawsuit by the police.
Coble was convicted of aggravated murder in 1990. A court of appeal ordered a new trial on sentence in 2007, but a second jury also sentenced him to death.
J.R. Vicha, Bobby Vicha's son, was 11 when he was tied up and threatened by Coble during the murders. The execution of Coble would be a relief to know that the execution finally took place, said Vicha, who eventually became a prosecutor in part because of his father.
"Nevertheless, the way they do it is more humane than what he's done to my family." "That's not what he deserves, but it will be good to know that we have as much of justice that the law allows, "he said before the execution. .
"It's not a good night," added Barry Johnson, McLennan County Attorney. "It's the end of a horror story for the Vicha family."
On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court rejected Coble's request to delay execution. His lawyers had argued that the lawyers in Coble's original trial were negligent in recognizing his guilt by failing to make a defense of insanity.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Lyrics has also rejected his switch request.
Coble's lawyer, A. Richard Ellis, told the courts that Coble was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his navy experience during the Vietnam War. Ellis argued that Coble had been convicted in part because of the misleading testimony of two dependent expert witnesses stating that it would be a danger for the future.
Coble is the third inmate killed this year in the United States and the second in Texas, the busiest country in terms of capital punishment.
J.R. Vicha, 40, still lives in the Waco area. His father was a police sergeant in Waco when he was killed, his grandfather was a retired plumber and his grandmother worked for a pediatrician.
Vicha strives to rename a part of a road near his father 's home.
"Whenever I meet someone who has known (his father and his grandparents), it's a nice feeling." And when I hear stories about them, I'm not sure. always have the impression that they are a little bit here, "Vicha said.
Lozano reported from Houston.
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