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Texas Executes Man for 1986 Murder

August 15, 1995

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man who killed his ex-girlfriend with two point-blank shots to the head and then tried to commit suicide as police closed in was executed by injection early Tuesday.

``I just hope Miss Fields is happy now,″ Vernon Sattiewhite said in a brief final statement, referring to the victim’s mother, Lillian Fields.

Ms. Fields said before the execution that ``I just want an end to this so that I know he’s dead and he’ll never hurt anyone else like my daughter, her children and myself.″

An 11th-hour appeal contending Sattiewhite, 39, was ``retarded, brain damaged, schizophrenic and floridly insane,″ was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On June 19, 1986, Sandra Sorrell was walking toward her San Antonio nursing aide school with her boyfriend, Willington Mingo, when Sattiewhite approached them.

He grabbed Ms. Sorrell in a headlock and dragged her for two blocks at gunpoint. Mingo pleaded with Sattiewhite to release her, but Sattiewhite said if he couldn’t have Ms. Sorrell ``ain’t nobody else gonna have her,″ witnesses testified. Then he shot her twice in the head, killing her instantly.

As police closed in, he put the .22-caliber pistol to his own head and fired at least 14 times, but the gun failed to fire.

Ms. Sorrell had been complaining to authorities about Sattiewhite for at least a month.

After his arrest, the 10th grade dropout and former forklift operator told a state psychiatrist he had been suffering from blackouts and hearing voices, and that he had made other suicide attempts in the previous months.

Sattiewhite was the 13th inmate put to death this year in Texas, which leads the nation in executions. He was the 292nd person nationwide to be executed since the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing states to resume capital punishment.

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