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Texas Executes Houston Parolee

December 13, 2001

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A parolee convicted of killing a Dallas police officer during a robbery almost 14 years ago was executed Wednesday night.

Vincent Edward Cooks expressed love for his family and friends and apologized to his mother, Annie Daniels, for not being ``a better son.″

``It wasn’t your fault I did the things I did,″ he said. ``At least I won’t be here anymore. I’m going to miss you.″

Cooks made no eye contact with relatives of slain officer Gary McCarthy, but seemed to maintain his contention that he was not the killer.

``By them executing me, they aren’t going to make it right,″ he said.

McCarthy, 33, was gunned down while working an off-duty security job at a Dallas market on Feb. 26, 1988. Prosecutors said they were confident they got the right man.

``There was no doubt in my mind that Cooks was the gunman,″ said Janice Warder, a former assistant district attorney in Dallas County who is now a state district judge in Dallas.

Cooks was the 17th and final Texas inmate to receive lethal injection this year, making the 2001 execution total in the state the lowest since three were put to death in 1996. Last year, a record 40 inmates were strapped to the gurney in the Huntsville death chamber.

Five already are on the schedule for 2002.

When he was arrested for killing McCarthy, Cooks, 37, was on parole after serving only nine months of a five-year term for aggravated assault for shooting at a Houston police officer. Cooks was fingered as the triggerman; two accomplices each received 20-year prison terms.

``It was much too easy,″ Candy McCarthy, the slain officer’s sister, said after watching Cooks’ execution. ``He was able to lie on that gurney and visit with his family and make jokes and tell them how much he loved them.″

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