Convicted Killer Set For Execution - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/22/03 - Tyler

Convicted Killer Set For Execution

  A man convicted in the murder of a mentally challenged Tyler woman is scheduled to die Wednesday evening.

   Six years ago, Robert Charles Ladd was sentenced to death for the murder and rape of Vicki Garner. Smith County prosecutors say Ladd set Garner's apartment on fire to cover up the evidence.

   Survived by her parents and two sisters, Garner left a lasting impression with everyone who knew her. At age 38, she had the mental capacity of a 15-year old, but an amazing memory, recalls Vicki's mother, Lawanta Garner.

   Despite the killer setting Garner's room on fire to destroy evidence, authorities traced the crime back to Ladd, a former Andrews employee and a prior felon. Before his arrest in the Garner case, Ladd was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Dallas woman and her two children. Much like Garner, the victims' bodies were set on fire. Ladd's life sentence was cut short when he was released on parole.

   Since their daughter's murder, the Garner family has accepted a written apology from Ladd.

   "We'll never forget Vicki and we'll never give her up," says Gene Ladd, Vicki's father. "This will be like the last chapter in the book. We've read the book, now its time to set in on the shelf."

   The Garner family plans on driving to Huntsville Wednesday for the execution.

   Kerri Panchuk, reporting.

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