Texas executes man convicted of strangling female impersonator

Texas to Execute Man Convicted of Strangling Female Impersonator

(Reuters) -- Texas on Wednesday executed a man convicted of strangling a female impersonator in Houston in 2001 and then stealing the victim's car, a prisons official said.

SEE ALSO: Texas set to execute man convicted of strangling female impersonator

Richard Masterson, 43, was put to death by lethal injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville. Masterson was pronounced dead at 6:53 p.m., the official said.

"Sending me to a better place. I am all right with this, you have to live and die by the choices that we make," Masterson was quoted by prisons officials as saying in his final statement.

The execution was the state's first this year and its 532nd since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

There were 13 executions last year in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors U.S. capital punishment.

Related: See notable death penalty cases:

19 PHOTOS
Notable death penalty executions and people on death row
See Gallery
Texas executes man convicted of strangling female impersonator
Seated on his bunk in the death cell of Iberia Parish Courthouse, convinced that 'The Lord is Still with Me,' is Willie Francis, a 17-year-old who won a million-to-one chance of a reprieve from death when the electric chair failed to kill him, or even hurt him, at his scheduled execution on May 3. Sentenced to die for the murder of a St. Martinville druggist a year ago, Francis was strapped in the chair. The current was applied. The doomed man squirmed and jumped. But when the current was shut off, he was unharmed. 'It tickled a little,' he said. The state will try again to carry out the execution on Thursday May 9th.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

This is John Wayne Gacy's police arrest photo from Dec. 21, 1978. Following intensive research, investigation and surveillance, Gacy was arrested by the Des Plaines (Ill.) Police Department on Thursday, Dec. 21, 1978. After being charged with and serving time for 33 murders, Gacy was executed in 1994 by lethal injection. Today, Monday, Nov. 23, 1998, technicians began preliminary work on a possible excavation at an apartment building on Chicago's Northwest Side in search of as many as four more possible victims of the mass murderer. The apartment building at one time, was the home of Gacy's mother, and Gacy had done some construction work there. The information regarding the location was recently released from a retired Chicago police officer who said he had seen Gacy carrying a shovel near the area at about 3 a.m. one day in 1975. The former officer reportedly thought little of the Gacy sighting until three years later, when Gacy was charged with 33 murders. The apartment building is about four miles away from Gacy's house.

(Des Plaines Police Department, Tim Boyle)

A portrait of mass murderer Ted Bundy, responsible for a string of murders in Washington state, Utah, and Florida in the 1970s. He was executed in in Florida on January 24, 1989. His actual victim count remains unknown.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Aileen Wuornos is shown in this undated photograph from the Florida Department of Corrections. Wournos was executed by lethal injection October 9, 2002 in Florida for murdering six men when she was a prostitute.

(Photo by Florida DOC/Getty Images)

Admitted mass-slayer Charles Starkweather is shown entering court for the second day of his trial for murder. Starkweather admitted killing 11 people and was executed in Nebraska on June 25, 1959. 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is shown being escorted from the Noble County Courthouse as he is transported to Oklahoma City for arraignment in this April 22, 1995 file photo. On June 11, 2001, McVeigh was executed after being sentenced to death for the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, a crime that took 168 lives and shook a complacent America to the core.

(Jim Bourg / Reuters)

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

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Media witnesses to the firing squad execution of John Albert Taylor examine the chair in which Taylor sat as he was shot to death at 12:03 a.m. Mountain time January 26 at the Unita State Penitentiary in Utah. The execution of Taylor was the first by firing squad in the United States since the 1977 execution of Gary Gilmore in Utah.

(POOL New / Reuters)

Stanley 'Tookie Williams' was responsible for several murders and other crimes and was executed in California on December 13, 2005. Williams helped found the Crips gang, but was later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-gang efforts. He authored such books as 'Life in Prison,' encouraging kids to stay out of gangs, and his memoir 'Blue Rage, Black Redemption'.'

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Teresa Lewis, convicted of murdering her husband and stepson, was executed in Virginia on September 23, 2010. She was the first woman executed in the state in nearly 100 years.

(REUTERS/Virginia Department of Corrections/Handout)

William Bonin (left), a 33-year-old truck driver and registered sex offender, was accused of the 'torture' murders of at least 13 and possibly 21 young males, suspected victims of the so called 'Freeway Killer. He was executed in California on February 23, 1996.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also said Vernon Butts (right) was an accomplice in at least six of the 21 murders.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

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

(Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged in a mass shooting at the U.S. Army post in Fort Hood, Texas, was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013.

(Ho New / Reuters)

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

 (Photo provided by Kootenai County Sheriff's Department via Getty Images)

Coy Wesbrook was executed in 2016. He fatally shot five people in 1997 with a hunting rifle in a killing spree launched when he found his ex-wife having sex with other men.

(REUTERS/Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout via Reuters)

Dylann Roof, the man convicted of murdering nine worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston was condemned to death by a federal jury on January 10, 2017.

(REUTERS/Charleston County Sheriff's Office/Handout)

Death row inmate Ricky Gray is shown in this undated photo released in Washington, DC, U.S. in 2016. Virginia Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Christopher Wilkins, 48, Texas death row inmate convicted of killing two people in a revenge plot after one had tricked him in a $20 drug deal, is shown in this undated photo in Huntsville, Texas, U.S.. Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Masterson's lawyers had launched appeals with the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution, saying his due process rights were violated and Texas presented false and misleading evidence regarding the death of Darin Honeycutt, 35, who went by the stage name of Brandi Houston.

The Supreme Court denied the motions on Wednesday.

Pope Francis had been hoping for a reprieve, Catholic World News reported this week.

Masterson's lawyers said there was no struggle, no murder and the death was accidental. They also questioned the credibility of the medical examiner who called the death a homicide.

"Petitioner has never denied that he restricted the complainant's airflow, but only that it occurred during a consensual sexual encounter," they said in a court filing.

Texas prosecutors said that after Masterson killed Honeycutt, he left the state in the victim's car, which was found days later in Georgia being driven by a nephew of Masterson.

After fleeing to Florida, Masterson met a man in a bar frequented by gay men. The two went to the man's apartment and Masterson placed him a headlock, trying to strangle him, prosecutors said.

The man passed out and when he regained consciousness, he found that his car and wallet were gone, authorities said.

A Florida police officer ran across the stolen car at a mobile home park, which led to Masterson's arrest.

At his trial in 2002, Masterson, who has a long criminal record, did not admit to the murder.

He took the stand and said he was a danger to society, daring jurors to sentence him to death, which they did.

More from AOL.com:
Donald Trump supporters have this one dangerous thing in common
Militants storm Pakistan university, kill at least 20
Man pushes stranger in front of Berlin subway train

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.