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February 28, 2019

Texas completes execution of triple killer ... and his family gets arrested

This local article, headlined "Texas death row inmate's son arrested for outburst during father's execution," reports on an execution and its remarkable aftermath. Here are details:

Billie Wayne Coble's son pounded on the execution chamber windows, cursing and shouting "no" as he watched his father die. It was just after 6:20 p.m., and the 70-year-old triple killer was about to become the oldest Texan executed in the modern era of capital punishment.

The aging Vietnam veteran who murdered his in-laws in an apparent rash of vengeance offered a only a short final statement before he was pronounced dead, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. "That will be five dollars," he said. "I love you, I love you, and I love you."...

But as soon as he finished speaking, the witness room erupted into chaos.  Gordon Coble started banging on the glass, and his son Dalton joined in the furor.  Both men — along with another relative — were removed from the room before the execution ended, and the two ended the night in the Walker County Jail, facing resisting arrest charges....

It was a dramatic and unexpected end to a decades-long saga. Back in the summer of 1989, Coble was distraught over the disintegration of his third marriage when he kidnapped his estranged wife and killed her parents and brother before attempting to kill himself.

But the Waco man, now 70, had no priors and, as he racked up years of good behavior in prison, his attorneys argued that a pair of experts for the state got it wrong at trial when they offered testimony claiming he'd be a future danger even behind bars....

This year, Coble's lawyer filed a plea for clemency.  "He is now 70 years old, in poor health, and has an almost blemish-free prison record for the past 30 years," attorney Richard Ellis wrote.  "His execution would serve no valid purpose."

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned his request down on Tuesday, leaving him with a final appeal in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.  In that claim, Coble's attorney argued that the Waco man's trial attorneys shouldn't have admitted his guilt because Coble asked them not to.  Last year, the same concern came up in a Louisiana case — and the high court sided with the condemned prisoner.  In Coble's case they did not....

Coble was the second man executed in Texas in 2019. There are five more executions on the calendar, including a June death date for Harris County killer Dexter Johnson.

February 28, 2019 at 09:55 PM | Permalink

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