Man executed in Texas for killing his wife's family


A Texas detainee was executed Thursday night for the murder of the parents of his ex-wife and brother, who was a police officer, nearly 30 years ago.

Billie Wayne Coble received a lethal injection at Huntsville State Penitentiary for the shootings of Robert and Zelda Vicha, in August 1989, and their son, Bobby Vicha, in separate homes in Axtell, North Carolina. is from Waco.

Coble, 70, one day described by a prosecutor as having "a heart full of scorpions", was the oldest inmate executed by Texas since the state's reinstatement of capital punishment in 1982.

Asked to make a final statement, Coble replied, "It will be $ 5."

He told the five witnesses that he had chosen to attend what he liked, then he repeated, "It will be 5 dollars". Coble nodded to the witnesses and added, "Take care of yourself."

He gasped several times and began to snore.

As Coble ended his statement, his son, a friend and a daughter-in-law became emotional and violent. They were screaming obscenities, beating their fists and hitting other people in the area of ​​the witnesses of death.

The officers intervened and the witnesses continued to resist. They were finally transferred to a courtyard and the two men handcuffed.

"Why do you do that?" the woman asked. "They just killed his dad."

While the controls were under control outside, a single dose of pentobarbital was administered to Coble. His death was pronounced 11 minutes later at 18:24.

The spokesman of the Texas Criminal Justice Department, Jeremy Desel, said the two men had been arrested on charges of being arrested and detained at Walker County Jail.

Earlier Thursday, the US Supreme Court rejected Coble's request to delay execution.

His lawyers told the High Court that the lawyers in Coble's original trial were negligent in recognizing his guilt by failing to make a defense of insanity before a jury did. found guilty of murder.

A state court of appeal had previously dismissed Coble's request to delay Thursday's performance and the Texas Board of Pardons and Lyrics had rejected his switch request.

Coble "does not deny that he bears the responsibility for the loss of life of the victims, but he nonetheless wanted his lawyers to present a defense on his behalf," said his lawyer, A. Richard Ellis, in his appeal. before the Supreme Court.

In his request for clemency addressed to the Board of Graces and Words, Ellis stated that his client was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his naval experience during the Vietnam War and had been convicted in part at because of the misleading testimony of two prosecution witnesses. on it would be a future danger.

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.

"It's not a good night," said Barry Johnson, McLennan County Attorney. "It's the end of a horror story for the Vicha family."

J.R. Vicha, Bobby Vicha's son, said it would be a relief to know that the execution finally took place after years of delay.

"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, "said 11-year-old JR Vicha. when he was tied up and threatened by Coble during the killings.

Prosecutors said that Coble, upset by the ongoing divorce, had abducted his wife, Karen Vicha. He was arrested and released on bail.

Nine days after the kidnapping, Coble went to Karen Vicha's home, where he handcuffed and tied up her three daughters and J.R. Vicha. He then went to the homes of Robert and Zelda Vicha, aged 64 and 60 respectively, and Bobby Vicha, 39, who lived nearby and shot them. After Karen Vicha returned home, Coble removed her and drove away, assaulted her and threatened to rape her and kill her. He was arrested after being wrecked in the neighboring county of Bosque as a result of a lawsuit by the police.

Coble was convicted of aggravated murder in 1990. In 2007, the US Circuit's Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal ordered a new trial. At his new trial in 2008, a second jury sentenced him to death.

Crawford Long, the former deputy chief prosecutor for McLennan County who helped Colee try again in 2008, said the description of "his heart full of scorpions" was perfect.

"He had no remorse at all," said Long, who retired in 2010.

J.R. Vicha, 40, still lives in the Waco area. He eventually became a prosecutor for eight years, a career choice inspired in part by his father, a police sergeant in Waco at the time of his assassination. His grandfather was a retired plumber and his grandmother worked for a pediatrician.

Vicha, now a lawyer in private practice, is trying to rename part of a highway near her 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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