A woman sentenced to die for the fatal shootings of her husband and their two children some 18-years ago was executed Wednesday evening in Huntsville.
44 year old Frances Newton is the third woman and first black woman put to death since Texas resumed capital punishment. Her execution is the 13th this year in Texas.
Newton quietly said "no" and shook her head when the warden asked if she would like to speak.
She briefly turned her head to make eye contact with family members and appeared to attempt to mouth something. She coughed once and gasped as her eyes closed and her mouth remained slightly open.
Newton was pronounced dead eight minutes later, at 6:17p.m.
One of her sisters stood against a wall of the death house, her head buried in her arms. Her parents held hands and Newton's mother
brushed away a tear.
About three dozen demonstrators chanted outside. But the crowd
paled in comparison to the hundreds that assembled in 1998 to protest the execution of the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.
Earlier Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected appeals by Newton's
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously rejected a
request to commute her sentence to life in prison this week.
And Wednesday afternoon, Governor Rick Perry rejected delaying her
Newton has insisted all along that she is innocent. She contends
her trial attorneys were incompetent and evidence in her case was
improperly handled and destroyed.
Newton found her husband shot in the head and her two children
shot in the chest in April 1987.
Three weeks before the slayings, Newton took out $50,000 life insurance policies on herself, her husband and her daughter.
A bag Newton hid contained a .25-caliber handgun used in the shootings. But attorneys argued it wasn't the same weapon Newton
left in the bag, and contend the weapons somehow got switched.
Newton believed the real killer is or may be related to a drug dealer who was upset with her husband for not repaying a debt.