Escapee Who Killed Texas Deputy Has Been Executed

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Texas death row inmate Charles Edward Smith has been executed over the 1988 slaying of a West Texas sheriff's deputy.

Asked if he had a final statement, Smith replied, "No sir."

Smith was pronounced dead yesterday at 6:41 pm, 11 minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow. The execution had been delayed slightly because of difficulty finding veins for the needles carrying the drugs.

He never looked at friends and relatives of the slain deputy. They watched through a window a few feet away.

The 41-year-old Smith is the 14th prison executed this year in the nation's busiest capital punishment state. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review his case.

He was one of two convicts who escaped from a Kansas prison and headed to Texas, stealing trucks, breaking into homes in Houston and stealing credit cards, jewelry and a gun.

They eventually reached remote West Texas. They had just gassed up their stolen van in the tiny town of Bakersfield and taken off without paying when Pecos County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Hudson tried to stop them.

Hudson was driving alongside the van on Interstate Ten west of Fort Stockton when his car was hit by at least three gunshots from Charles Smith's pistol. One shot fatally wounded the 61-year-old deputy, who was about nine months shy of retirement.

Smith's cousin and fellow prison fugitive, Carroll Smith, pleaded guilty to charges relating to his role in the slaying and took a life prison term.