Texas executes man convicted of killing two over $20 drug deal

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The first U.S. execution of 2017 was held on Wednesday when Texas lethally injected a man convicted of killing two men in a revenge plot after one had tricked him in a $20 drug deal.

Christopher Wilkins, 48, was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m. local time (0029 GMT Thursday) after the injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a press release.

There was no last statement, it added.

The execution was the 539th in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

The number of U.S. executions had fallen to a quarter-century low in 2016 due to factors including high costs of prosecutions, sales bans on lethal injections drugs and increased use by juries of life without parole as a sentence.

The Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal to halt the execution.

Wilkins was convicted in the 2005 killing of Willie Freeman, 40, and Mike Silva, 33, in the Fort Worth area and dumping their bodies.

Prosecutors contended Wilkins paid $20 for crack cocaine and Freeman gave him a piece of gravel instead. Freeman laughed at Wilkins, told him it was a joke and gave him drugs to make amends.

Wilkins, incensed after being tricked, took revenge on Freeman, according to court documents. Wilkins said he killed Silva because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the documents said.

A few weeks later, Wilkins met Freeman and they got into a car with Silva on what Wilkins said was a trip for a deal to acquire illicit goods, the documents said.

Wilkins shot Freeman in the back of the head. Silva stopped the car and tried to get out but became entangled in the seatbelt. Wilkins shot him three times, they said.

At trial in 2008, Wilkins admitted to a string of crimes that included the killings. He also told a jury he did not care if he lived or died, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported at the time.

"The evidence indicating Wilkins' guilt was simply overwhelming," Texas said in its legal filings, adding there was abundant evidence that linked Wilkins to the crime.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by James Dalgleish and Richard Chang

33 PHOTOS
States with the death penalty
See Gallery
States with the death penalty

Alabama

(Photo via Alamy)

Arizona

(Photo by Jaap Hart via Getty Images)

Arkansas

(Photo by Wesley Hitt via Getty Images)

California

(Photo via Alamy)

Colorado

(Photo by David Parsons via Getty Images)

Florida

(Photo via Getty Images)

Georgia

(Photo by Sean Pavone via Getty Images)

Idaho

(Photo via Alamy)

Indiana

(Photo via Getty Images)

Kansas

(Photo by Danita Delimont via Getty Images)

Kentucky

(Photo by Henryk Sadura via Getty Images)

Louisiana

(Photo via Alamy)

Missouri

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Montana

(Photo via Getty Images)

Nebraska

(Photo via Getty Images)

Nevada

(Photo via Getty Images)

New Hampshire

(Photo Getty Images)

North Carolina

(Photo via Getty Images)

Ohio

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Oklahoma

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Oregon

(Photo via Alamy)

Pennsylvania

(Photo via Shutterstock)

South Carolina

(Photo via Getty Images)

South Dakota

(Photo by Dave and Les Jacobs via Getty Images)

Tennessee

(Photo via Getty Images)

Texas

(Photo by Dan Huntley via Getty Images)

Utah

(Photo via Getty Images)

Virginia

(Photo via Getty Images)

Washington

(Photo by Sankar Raman via Getty Images)

Wyoming

(Photo via Getty Images)

U.S. Federal Government

(Photo via Getty Images)

U.S. Military

(Photo by Carl Johnson via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners