Newton Anderson Executed For Brutal Smith County Murders

Newton Anderson, 30, was executed Thursday night in Huntsville for the 1999 murders of Frank and Bertha Cobb in New Harmony.  He attempted final appeals to the trial judge, Cynthia Kent, and to the U.S. Supreme Court, but all appeals were denied.

KLTV spoke to Cobb's daughter and the prosecutor in the case before tonight's execution.

Frank and Bertha Cobb's daughter, Carolyn Sanders, says with apparently no reason her parents were targeted by Anderson -- a robbery that turned into horrible murders.

"It's March 4th, 1999. And it doesn't matter what day of the week it's on," Sanders says of the pain that surfaces every year, on the anniversary of the murders.

Eight years has done little to ease a daughter's pain.

"All [Anderson] did was go in there and get his stuff and leave, he didn't have to kill them," she says.

Newton Anderson walked up to the home in New Harmony, that day where the shell of the Cobb's home that stands to this day -- haunting the countryside.

"I never thought I'd have to say, that yes, I support the death penalty and have a reason why, but this gave me a reason," she says.

A jury found Anderson, with intent to rob the couple, overpowered Frank Cobb and tied him up. When Bertha came home, did the same to her.   Then as duct tape was over her nose and mouth, anderson sexually assaulted her.

"There's no way for us to know whether Bertha Cobb was alive or not, because her mouth was covered," says Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham, who prosecuted the case.

He also says it's impossible to know whether Frank Cobb watched as Anderson shot Bertha over and over with a small rifle.

Carolyn Sanders says the thought of a horrific end to her parents' lives continues to haunt her.

"It hurts to think about what he did to my mother -- my mother alone. It hurts.  He was so mean.  He didn't have to do that," she says.

Bingham: "He then set the place on fire, took their vehicle, took their money, and even stuff like toilet paper and clothing, and went to Dallas and went to a strip club.  He could have tied them up and taken [belongings] and been long gone, but that's not what he was there for," he says.

Since he was arrested, Anderson's tried escape several times, and admitted his guilt to the media, but in eight years, Carolyn says he's never said a word to her family.

It's a time she has endured only with the help of friends.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.