HUNTSVILLE, TEX. -- A man convicted of killing a woman during a $1 burglary was executed by injection after a delay in which confused officials placed him on the death chamber gurney, took him off for an hour and then returned him to the table to die.
J. Kirk Brown, general counsel for the Department of Corrections, said the confusion surrounding the execution of Robert Streetman, 27, stemmed from a belief by the Texas attorney general's office that a last-minute appeal was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Streetman, who had repeatedly said he wanted to be executed, was pronounced dead at 3:26 a.m., seven minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing through his veins.
About 90 minutes earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had deadlocked 4 to 4 on a request for a stay, apparently clearing the way for the nation's first execution this year. But at 2:10 a.m., as Streetman was being strapped to the gurney, state officials halted the execution, concerned that a second appeal to the high court may have been pending. None was.
Streetman had no final statement, but Brown said he understood the condemned man was annoyed at the delay.
The execution brought to 27 the number of inmates put to death in Texas -- more than any other state -- since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. Nationwide, 94 people have been executed since that decision.