Gunman In 1985 Fort Worth Restaurant Shooting Executed
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A 10th-grade dropout who killed a young woman during a 1985 holdup at a fast-food restaurant was executed by injection early Thursday.
Ronald Allridge, 34, was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m., nine minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his veins. He had no final statement.
Three of Allridge’s brothers stood holding hands a few feet away from him.
His final appeal was rejected May 15 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Gov. George W. Bush on Wednesday denied a request from Allridge’s lawyer for a 30-day reprieve or a commuted sentence of 1,000 years in prison.
The request struck a hollow note with the victim’s mother, Carole McMillen. ``This is just an example of the judicial system in need of repair,″ she said. ``It’s taken so long to carry out the jury’s verdict. This is not even a question of whether he’s guilty or not.″
Carla McMillen was eating a late night meal with two friends at a Whataburger restaurant in Fort Worth when Allridge and two other men burst in and announced a holdup.
When Allridge pointed his shotgun at the woman’s chest at close range and she threw up her hands, he fired.
``His whole appeal was: `Gosh, it was an accident,′ ″ said Sharen Wilson, who prosecuted Allridge. ``But it was no accident that he had it pointed directly at the center of her chest. We’re not talking about some guy who maybe didn’t do it.″
Prosecutors said Allridge confessed to at least 20 such holdups.
Allridge served less than six years of a 10-year term for killing a Fort Worth high school student in 1976. He also was accused of the fatal shooting of a pizza shop manager two months before the McMillen slaying.
Even 10 years later, Wilson, now a judge, is troubled by the crime. ``They were horrific photographs, the victim laying in a puddle of blood with a half-eaten sandwich,″ she said. ``I don’t think I’ll ever forget them,″
The execution was the 10th this year in Texas, which leads the nation in executions. Allridge was the 284th person executed since the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to resume capital punishment.