Texas inmate wants to die, Supreme Court gives OK

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Texas To Execute Man Convicted Of Killing Veteran Police Officer

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Texas inmate Daniel Lee Lopez wants to be put to death Wednesday evening for striking and killing a police lieutenant with an SUV during a chase more than six years ago, and the U.S. Supreme Court is allowing his wishes to be carried out.

The justices turned down an appeal from Lopez's attorneys who disregarded both his desire to die and lower court rulings that Lopez was competent to make that decision. The brief three-sentence order was issued about five hours before Lopez could be taken to the death chamber in Huntsville for lethal injection.

SEE MORE: Executions likely go on despite Supreme Court dissent

Lopez's "obvious and severe mental illness" was responsible for his desire to use the legal system for suicide, illustrating his "well-documented history of irrational behavior and suicidal tendencies," attorney David Dow, who is representing Lopez, told the court. Dow also argued the March 2009 crime was not a capital murder because Lopez didn't intend to kill Corpus Christi Lt. Stuart Alexander.

Alexander, 47, was standing in a grassy area on the side of a highway where he had put spike strips when he was struck by the sport utility vehicle Lopez was fleeing in.

"I've accepted my fate," Lopez, 27, said last week from death row. "I'm just ready to move on."

Lopez, who also wrote letters to a federal judge and pleaded for his execution to move forward, said a Supreme Court reprieve would be "disappointing."

Notable death penalty executions and people on death row:

16 PHOTOS
Notable death penalty executions and people on death row
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Texas inmate wants to die, Supreme Court gives OK

Willie Francis, the first known incident of failed execution by lethal injection, was executed on May 9, 1947. He was sentenced to death for the murder of his former boss, Andrew Thomas. 

(AP Photo/File)

John Wayne Gacy, a rapist and serial killer responsible for the sexual assaults and murders of at least 33 men, was executed in Illinois on May 10, 1994. 

(AP Photo/File)

Ted Bundy, a kidnapper, rapist, and serial killer responsible for the assaults and murders of dozens of young women, was executed in in Florida on January 24, 1989. His actual victim count remains unknown.

(AP Photo/File)

Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer responsible for the deaths of seven men, was executed in Florida on October 9, 2002. 

(AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Charles Starkweather, a spree killer responsible for eleven murders, was executed in Nebraska on June 25, 1959. 

(AP Photo/Don Ultang)

Timothy McVeigh, responsble for the Oklahoma City bombing, was executed in Indiana on June 11, 2001.

(AP Photo/File)

Thomas Provenzano, a convicted murderer responsible for shooting three people, was executed in Florida on June 21, 2000.

(AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Gary Gilmore, responsible for the shooting deaths of two men, was executed in Utah on January 17, 1977.

(AP Photo)

Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder and leader of the Crips gang responsible for several murders and other crimes, was executed in California on December 13, 2005.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Teresa Lewis, convicted of murdering her husband and stepson, was executed in Virginia on September 23, 2010.

(AP Photo/Va Dept of Corrections)

William Bonin, a serial killer responsible for a minimum of 21 rapes and murders, was executed in California on February 23, 1996.

(AP Photo/File)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, responsible for Boston Marathon bombing, was sentenced to death on May 15, 2015.

(AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

Nidal Malik Hasan, responsible for Ford Hood shooting, was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013.

(AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)

Joseph E. Duncan III, a convicted murderer and sex offender, was sentenced to death on August 27, 2008.

(AP Photo/Kootenai County First Appearance Video Court)

Death row prisoner Coy Wayne Wesbrook is photographed Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit outside Livingston, Texas. Wesbrook, 58, is set for lethal injection March 9, 2016, for the November 1997 fatal shootings of his ex-wife and another man at her apartment in Channelview, just east of Houston. They were among five people killed during the shooting rampage. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)
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Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said Lopez showed "no regard for human life" when he fought with an officer during a traffic stop, then sped away, evading pursuing officers and striking Alexander, who had been on the police force for 20 years. Even when he finally was cornered by police cars, Lopez tried ramming his SUV to escape and didn't stop until he was shot.

"Daniel Lopez is amoral," Skurka said Tuesday. "He had no moral scruples, no nothing. It was always about Daniel Lopez, and it's still about Daniel Lopez.

"He's a bad, bad guy."

Lopez was properly examined by a psychologist, testified at a federal court hearing about his desire to drop appeals and was found to have no mental defects, state attorneys said in opposing delays to the punishment.

Deputies found a dozen packets of cocaine and a small scale in a false compartment in the console of the SUV.

Records show Lopez was on probation at the time after pleading guilty to indecency with a child in Galveston County and was a registered sex offender. He had other arrests for assault.

Testimony at his trial showed he had at least five children by three women, and a sixth was born while he was jailed for Alexander's death. Court records show he had sex with girls as young as 14 and had a history of assaults and other trouble while in school, where he was a 10th-grade dropout. Records also show he told the mother of one of his former girlfriends that he wanted the death penalty because he believed after his execution his children all would be eligible for Social Security benefits until they turned 18.

Lopez would be the 10th inmate executed this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state. Nationally, 18 prisoners have been put to death this year, with Texas accounting for 50 percent of them.

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