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Killer’s Execution Speediest Since Gary Gilmore

September 18, 1996

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man convicted 10 months ago of killing his former boss was executed by injection Wednesday in the nation’s speediest death sentence since Gary Gilmore in 1977.

Joe Gonzales, 36, waived all appeals as he waited to die, cutting short a process that in Texas averages about eight years. He died at at 6:19 p.m., seven minutes after the lethal drugs were administered.

``There are people all over the world who face things worse than death on a daily basis, and in that sense I consider myself lucky,″ he said in a final, handwritten statement. ``I cannot find the words to express the sadness I feel for bringing this hurt and pain on my loved ones. ... God bless you all.″

Gonzales, a roofer, was convicted in November in the 1992 slaying of William Veader, 50, a building contractor. Gonzales, claiming Veader owed him $200, shot him in the head and robbed him.

``I am a man who has no regard for the law. I am a man who has no regard for humanity,″ Gonzales, who acted as his own lawyer, told the jury. ``I ask for no sympathy, no empathy _ but I do ask for you to follow the law.″

The jury took just 12 minutes to recommend the death penalty.

Gilmore, the first person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court lifted a 10-year moratorium on capital punishment in 1976, also waived all appeals and went before a firing squad in Utah just three months after he was convicted of killing two men.

In 1991, Jerry Joe Bird became the longest-serving death row inmate to be executed in Texas. He waited 16 3/4 years to be put to death for killing a man during a 1974 robbery.

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