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Texas Executes 1992 Cab Driver Killer

February 16, 2006

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ Convicted killer Clyde Smith was executed Wednesday for fatally shooting a Houston cabdriver during a robbery in 1992.

``I want to thank you all for being here and for your love and support,″ Smith, 32, told friends who watched from a window.

Relatives of another cabdriver Smith had confessed to killing were present, but he did not acknowledge them. Relatives of the man Smith was executed for killing were not there.

He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m., seven minutes after lethal drugs were administered. His execution was the fourth this year in Texas.

Smith had confessed to the Feb. 7, 1992, death of 45-year-old David Jacobs, and to a similar shooting and robbery of another cabdriver, Victor Bilton, six weeks later. He later said the confessions were made under duress.

He was convicted of shooting Jacobs four times in the head and robbing him of about $100.

Bilton’s son, Kenneth Bilton, 43, said he felt justice was done with the execution.

``It just took a long time to get there,″ he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal about an hour before the execution. Smith’s lawyers had challenged the constitutionality of the lethal combination of drugs used in the injection.

In earlier appeals, lawyers pointed out that federal judges had agreed Smith may have had poor legal help during his trial. His attorneys had presented no witnesses.

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