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Robbery Killer Dies in 100th Texas Execution

October 5, 1995

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man was executed by injection for killing a 17-year-old cashier during a supermarket robbery, becoming the 100th Texas inmate put to death since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.

Harold Joe Lane, who claimed the shooting was an accident, smiled at his two brothers who watched his execution Wednesday night.

``I wish you all the best. ... I have found everlasting peace with my God and I’m ready,″ he said moments before the drugs began flowing just after 6 p.m.

Lane, 50, said he was high on drugs and alcohol when he robbed a Winn-Dixie store of $3,300 in 1982. He shot cashier Tammy Davis in the head as he fled and was caught by police shortly after.

He had a long criminal history, including imprisonment in Colorado for robbery and assault and in Louisiana for manslaughter.

Davis’ mother, Brenda Ruiz, said the execution ``finally closes the book″ on the murder.

``I have come here to see justice finally is served in this case,″ said Ruiz, who waited in a building across the street from the prison during the execution.

``There’s a lot of mixed emotions,″ she said. ``I don’t hate Mr. Lane. I hate the person he is. I hate the things he does.″

Ruiz said she planned to visit her daughter’s grave today.

Lane’s execution was the first set for after 6 p.m. The previous 99 came between midnight and dawn, but lawmakers made the change after agreeing that lawyers and judges are more accessible during the day.

Texas’ 100 executions lead the nation, which has had 301 since the Supreme Court restored the death penalty in 1976. Lane’s execution was the 44th in the nation this year, extending a record for the most in a year. The previous record was 38 in 1993.

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