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Truck driver is executed in Texas for rape and murder

April 22, 1997

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A truck driver was executed Monday for raping and strangling a cocktail waitress who had hitched a ride.

Benjamin Herbert Boyle, 53, was pronounced dead, seven minutes after receiving a lethal dose of drugs.

Asked if he had any final words, Boyle shook his head slightly. He kept his eyes closed and made no contact with his victim’s mother and sister through a window. Boyle gasped a couple of times and sighed deeply before he stopped breathing.

Boyle, sentenced to die for the 1985 slaying of Gail Lenore Smith, was the third condemned killer to be executed in Texas in eight days and the fifth this month.

Joyce Smith, the victim’s mother, said the execution brought her some closure.

``It’s not the end because you never stop grieving for a child but it does have a final ring to it,″ Ms. Smith said. ``I want to know he won’t harm another woman’s daughter.

Boyle, known on the road by his citizens band radio nickname, ``Mr. Whipple,″ was driving for an Oklahoma trucking company when he was arrested in eastern Texas on Oct. 17, 1985.

His arrest came two days after Ms. Smith’s nude body, hogtied with duct tape, was found in a brushy area off a highway near Amarillo. The cloth used to strangle her was pulled so tight she was nearly decapitated.

Ms. Smith, 20, was a cocktail waitress in Fort Worth who had hitched a ride with Boyle to visit her mother.

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