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Texas Executes Convicted Killer Green

October 6, 2004

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ Condemned killer Edward Green III was executed Tuesday night despite his attorneys’ pleas to halt the execution, citing problems at the Houston police crime lab.

``I do not come here with the intention to make myself out to be a person I am not,″ Green said in a brief final statement. ``I never claimed to be the best person. I am not the best father, the best son or the best friend in the world.

``I did the best I could with what I had.″

Green said he had no hate in his heart or bitterness, adding to his family and the relatives of his two victims, ``I can only apologize for all the pain I caused you. May God forgive us on this day.″

As the lethal drugs began taking effect, Green wheeze and grimaced. He said something unintelligible and gasped. Ten minute later at 8:21 p.m. CDT, he was pronounced dead.

Green’s mother sobbed uncontrollably as she watched her son die. She collapsed and had to be assisted from the room. A second witness was placed in a wheelchair briefly.

The lawyers, two state senators from Harris County and the Houston police chief wanted executions stopped for all county cases until authorities can review some 280 recently discovered boxes of evidence that had been mislabeled and improperly stored.

Attorneys said the boxes could contain something relevant to Green’s double murder case, but prosecutors said all evidence involving Green had been accounted for.

Much of the controversy surrounding the police lab is on reliability of DNA testing procedures. No DNA evidence was used in Green’s case; his attorneys had questioned the reliability of ballistics evidence presented at his trial.

Gov. Rick Perry refused Monday to impose a blanket moratorium on Harris County executions. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, voting 6-0, refused a clemency request from Green.

Hours before he could be taken to the death house, Green’s lawyers asked the parole board to reconsider its vote, saying a meaningful review of the case ``is simply not possible″ until all of the newly found evidence is catalogued.

The board refused. Perry also rejected a 30-day reprieve, which he is empowered to grant.

``The main evidence leading to Green’s conviction is his own confession to these brutal and senseless murders,″ the governor said.

A similar request had been renewed in the courts as Green was moved to a small cell not far from the Texas death chamber and asked for a final meal that included two chicken fried steaks and a half-gallon of grape juice.

``The integrity of the state’s criminal justice system is better served by the exercise of caution, which will result only in several months delay than the state’s shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach,″ Green’s attorneys said.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay.

Green’s execution was the 14th this year in Texas and the first of two on consecutive days this week.

Green, 30, known on the street as ``Peanut,″ said he was high after smoking marijuana and embalming fluid when he and a friend confronted a car that had pulled up to a stop sign. When Green, brandishing a pistol, ordered Edward Haden, 72, out of his Lincoln, the man tried to throw the car into reverse. Haden and his passenger, Helen O’Sullivan, 63, were shot.

``It really wasn’t necessary,″ Green said of the 1992 robbery during a recent death row interview. ``Ignorance _ that’s what landed me here. I had a real distorted perception of life.″

John O’Sullivan, whose mother was killed in the attack, said Green made some bad choices.

``I’m not an advocate (of the death penalty). I wish there was another means,″ O’Sullivan said this week. ``But he has to pay the consequences.″

Green, who was 18 at the time, already was jailed on unrelated charges when police received a tip that led to his arrest.

He was no stranger to authorities. He had been expelled from school, wound up at a juvenile camp after a rape accusation and was tied to numerous car thefts.

``It was such a senseless deal,″ Don Smyth, the district attorney who prosecuted the case, said this week. ``Green had every opportunity. This is not somebody who just slipped through the cracks.

``He had been in and out of the system as a juvenile repeatedly and as a young adult, and had massive amounts of money spent on him in terms of teachers and therapists and psychoanalysts and social worker types.″

Green, who said he couldn’t remember any formal schooling past the seventh grade, said he matured on death row and equated his experiences there to attending college.

``If you make it a learning ground, it can be,″ he said. ``My thinking pattern has changed.″

Green and a corrections officer became romantically involved and had a daughter, now 5. The woman resigned rather than be fired, and she married Green by proxy.

Another Texas inmate, Peter Miniel, was set to die Wednesday for the fatal beating and stabbing of a Houston man 18 years ago. He asked that no appeals be filed.


On the Net:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice execution schedule http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/scheduledexecutions.htm

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