A Texas man was executed on late Wednesday for murdering his live-in girlfriend after she refused to give him money to support his drug habit, officials said on Thursday. He is the 35th person to be executed in the United States so far this year.
Donnie Lee Roberts, 41, was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m. local time on Wednesday at Huntsville Unit in Walker County. The execution by lethal injection took place just days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case, and no additional last-minute appeals were filed to stop Wednesday's execution.
In his last statement, Roberts apologized to the family of his victim and asked his own relatives to tell his daughter that he loves her. "I am truly sorry, I never meant to cause ya'll so much pain," he told the victim's family. "Not one day has passed that I wish I could take it back."
He said he hoped his death would allow the victim's family to find closure. "God knows I didn't want to do what I did. I loved your daughter. I hope to God he lets me see her in Heaven so I can apologize to her," he said. In his final words, he added: "Please tell my daughter I love her."
Roberts was convicted of killing 44-year-old dental assistant Vicki Brown who was found dead in her Polk County, Texas, home in October 2003. Prosecutors said Roberts had approached Brown, who was his live-in girlfriend, and demanded currency from her. When she refused, Roberts shot her three times in the head before fleeing the scene in her son's vehicle along with valuable items.
Roberts was the twelfth person executed in Texas so far this year and the 35th in the United States. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976.