Texas Executes Murder-for-Hire Convict for 1990 Murders
A man was executed for initiating a murder-for-hire plot that authorities said led to the fatal stabbings of his parents and an uncle.
The lethal injection of Gregory Summers, 48, on Wednesday came more than seven years after the execution of Andrew Cantu, convicted of taking a $10,000 offer and fatally stabbing Gene and Helen Summers, both 64, and Billy Mack Summers, 60. Their home was set on fire after they were attacked and their bodies were found in the rubble.
Asked by Warden Thomas Prasifka if he had a final statement, Summers replied "no." Eight minutes later, at 10:16 p.m. EDT (0216 GMT), he was pronounced dead.
Attorneys for Summers tried Wednesday to block the punishment by challenging the constitutionality of the lethal injection method, accusing prosecutors of hiding evidence and raising questions about testimony from a trial witness who implicated Summers.
The U.S. Supreme Court three weeks ago refused to review his case. Three appeals went to the high court late Wednesday, and all were rejected.
Authorities said the 1990 slayings were the result of Summers' parents' frustration with bailing their son out of his financial problems and Greg Summers' attempt to get $24,000 in life insurance.
Cantu, 31, had denied involvement and blamed the killings on two companions who testified against him.
Summers was the 22nd inmate executed this year in Texas, the most active death penalty state in the United States. At least three other inmates have execution dates over the next four weeks.