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Man who abducted, raped and nearly decapitated woman put to death

May 21, 1997

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A Bible resting on his chest, Clarence Lackey told his mother he loved her just before he was executed for raping and killing a woman whose nearly decapitated body was left in a cotton field.

Lackey, 43, had been on death row 15 years and was the second of four men to be put to death by lethal injection this week in Texas.

``I’d like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for keeping me strong,″ Lackey said Tuesday in a final statement. Six minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

Lackey was convicted in 1982 of abducting, raping and slashing to death Toni Diane Kumpf, a 23-year-old Dallas woman who worked at a hospital as a Spanish interpreter.

He had been out of prison less than six months when in July 1977 he kicked in Kumpf’s apartment door in Lubbock and dragged her off.

``That pleases me, not only that he’s gone but that he found some religion,″ said Jim Kumpf, the victim’s father.

Defense lawyers claimed at trial that Lackey was not responsible for his actions because he was physically abused by his father and suffered blackouts after drinking too much.

He had various appeals, one of which contended his lengthy time on death row violated his constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment.

``He’s a coldblooded killer,″ said Capt. Randy Ward, a detective who worked on the case. ``He talked about it, and he showed no remorse. If he hadn’t been caught, he would’ve killed again.″

The pace of executions _ Lackey was the 13th this year in the nation’s most active capital punishment state _ is accelerating in Texas as state law designed to shorten the appeals process take effect.

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