The state of Texas executed 64-year-old Billy Jack Crutsinger Wednesday night after the Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal.
Crutsinger was convicted for the 2003 stabbing murders of 89-year-old Pearl Magouirk and her 71-year-old daughter Patricia Syren in Fort Worth. He was executed by lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary and Huntsville.
“I am at peace now with and going to be with Jesus and my family,” Crutsinger said in a final statement, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I am going to miss those pancakes and those old-time black-and-white shows. Where I am going everything will be in color.”
Magouirk and Syren hired Crutsinger to perform household tasks. Instead, Crutsinger killed the pair and stole personal items including credit cards and a vehicle.
In a series of appeals following his conviction, Crutsinger argued his defense was hindered by incompetent counsel and inadequate funding to investigate mitigating factors that could have lessened his sentence.
“Trial attorneys and state habeas counsel left significant issues unexplored and unexplained — both for purposes of mitigation, and ‘also to identify mental-health claims which potentially reach beyond sentencing issues to fundamental questions of competency and mental-state defenses,” Crutsinger’s lawyers told the justices in court papers.
“These issues included: alcoholism and a personality change — lay witnesses had testified that after a single drink that Mr. Crutsinger was described by relatives as ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,’ a history of domestic violence and abuse, and repeated losses of significant friends and relatives during his childhood and early adult years,” the filing adds.
The Supreme Court rejected the last of those appeals Wednesday night. The Court did not give reasons for rejecting the petition or the stay application, as is typical of orders of this nature. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a short separate statement saying Crutsinger’s case raised important issues that should be addressed in a future dispute.
Pointed divisions emerged among the justices on capital cases during the Court’s last term. The Court’s conservative majority appears to be charting a new course on Eighth Amendment issues that is friendly to the death penalty.
Crutsinger was the 14th person executed in the U.S. this year and the fifth in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Another 18 executions are scheduled for this year.
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