Texas Executes Woman

Who Killed Her Family

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. -- Frances Newton was executed Wednesday for the fatal shootings of her husband and two children 18 years ago, becoming the third woman, and first black woman, to be put to death in the state since executions resumed in 1982.

Strapped to the death chamber's gurney and with her parents among the people watching, she declined to make a final statement. Newton quietly said no and shook her head when the warden asked if she would like to speak.

After Newton was executed, one of her sisters stood against a wall at the rear of the death house, her head in her arms. Her parents held hands and her mother brushed away a tear.

About three dozen demonstrators chanted outside, but the crowd was much smaller than the hundreds who gathered in 1998 to protest the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.

* FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Ernie Fletcher fired nine members of his administration in a scandal over hiring practices. The governor apologized to people hurt by hiring mistakes. One of those fired was Richard Murgatroyd, Fletcher's deputy chief of staff and close friend.

* LANSING, Mich. -- U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood has declared unconstitutional Michigan's law aimed at banning a procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion. In a ruling dated Monday, Hood in Detroit ruled the law places an "undue burden" on women's right to choose an abortion. The parties in the lawsuit learned of the ruling Wednesday.

* BIRMINGHAM -- The government wants to blow up the truck Eric Rudolph was driving when he bombed an Alabama abortion clinic. Officials said they want to use the pickup in a training drill to prevent it from ending up in the hands of Rudolph's admirers. But nurse Emily Lyons, who was badly wounded in the bombing, says the truck should go to Rudolph's victims, who are unlikely to get any other compensation.

* AUSTIN -- Texas's highest criminal appeals court refused to consider the case of Clara Harris, who was convicted of killing her husband by hitting him with her car outside a hotel where she found him with his mistress. Harris is serving 20 years for the slaying of David Harris.

* INVERNESS, Fla. -- John and Linda Dollar, who were accused of starving and torturing five of their seven adopted children, pleaded no contest to aggravated child abuse. Each received 15-year prison terms.

-- From News Services