Related topics

Life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll leads to Texas death chamber

July 30, 1997

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man who worked the streets of a gay Houston neighborhood to support a lifestyle of ``sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll″ was executed Tuesday for killing a woman 15 years ago.

Before Robert West, 35, was executed by lethal injection he turned to three members of his victim’s family and said: ``I want to apologize for the pain and suffering, what you people have been through. I hope this gives you some closure. If not now, then down the line.″

Then he turned to three friends and expressed thanks and love.

West was condemned for the 1982 beating and stabbing death of Deanna Klaus, 22, who lived one floor below him at a hotel in Houston’s Montrose area. Ms. Klaus was targeted because West believed she had fingered a friend of his, who was killed in what police termed a drug killing.

``I don’t accept his apology,″ said her mother, Dorothy Klaus, after watching West die. ``He’s lying. Why did it take 15 years? It’s a shameful thing to do to the victims because we’re being victimized after we lose our family. I resent it when somebody gets all these chances.″

West had been in and out of jail since he was 15 and served prison time in Illinois and Florida for theft and burglary.

He confessed to killing Ms. Kraus and had no witnesses at his trial.

``I’ve never denied any involvement in the murder,″ West said. ``My whole philosophy growing up was sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. I was happy in drag. I liked sex. I was doing what I liked to do.″

West said he eventually came to realize the effects of his crime.

Update hourly