A man convicted of a series of rapes and murders in Texas had asked authorities to carry out his execution using gas or a firing squad before he was put to death on Wednesday.
Danny Paul Bible, known as the “ice pick killer,” died of lethal injection, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.
The 66-year-old had appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, arguing that he was “very weak and sick” and that his veins were not capable of sustaining the infusion of lethal injection drugs, making them likely to “blow,” a court petition filed by his attorneys stated.
Bible’s attorneys said the likelihood of a botched execution was very high due to his declining health, adding that he would suffer serious pain.
A judge for the Southern District of Texas in Houston and the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals had dismissed his appeal before the Supreme Court denied a stay of execution petition on Wednesday, court records show.
After receiving the lethal injection, Bible breathed heavily for about two minutes, shaking from Parkinson’s tremors as he muttered “it hurts,” a media witness said.
Keri Blakinger, a media witness from the Houston Chronicle, said Bible then started snoring and closed one eye before he stopped moving.
Jeremy Desel, a public information officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said he heard him saying quietly what sounded like “burning” and “hurts.”
Desel said Bible declined last words and he was pronounced dead at 6:32 pm (local time).
“Danny Paul Bible is as vile and evil a person who has ever drawn breath. We are glad to have witnessed him draw his last breath. I know that he will burn in hell for eternity,” Larry Lance, the brother of one of Bible’s victims said in a statement following the execution.
The ‘ice pick killer’
Bible was a serial rapist and murderer who stabbed at least two women to death with ice picks, officials said.
In 1979, Bible raped and stabbed his cousin’s best friend. The body of 20-year-old Inez Deaton, a wife and mother of a 2-year-old girl, was found in a field in Harris County, Texas, records show.
Authorities say Bible also “left a trail of carnage” in 1983 when he killed two other women and the four-month-old son of one of them on the same day.
Bible was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of one of the women but was paroled in 1992. Following his release, he was accused of raping five young family members, officials said.
Deaton’s murder went unsolved for nearly two decades until Bible was arrested in Louisiana for another rape and confessed to multiple crimes, including Deaton’s murder.
In 2003, Bible was convicted of Deaton’s murder and sentenced to death.
“Some criminals’ actions are so heinous, they earn the label ‘worst of the worst,'” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg had said prior to Bible’s execution.
Firing squad or lethal gas
Bible was asking for either death by gas or firing squad, which are not offered in Texas but are available in a few other states.
Oklahoma recently decided to use inert gas inhalation as the primary method for death penalty executions after struggling to find legally obtainable lethal injection drugs.
The state has chose nitrogen to carry out the executions. Nitrogen is one of several inert gases that can cause hypoxia, an oxygen deficiency that causes death.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said the inert gas inhalation is used in countries that have legalized assisted suicide.
At least five other states allow gas inhalation but only as an alternative to the lethal injection, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah also allow inmates to choose a firing squad for executions, though lethal injection is the primary method in those, according to the center.
In 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by a firing squad in Utah. He was the third inmate in that state to be executed by that method since 1977.
Last year, Mississippi authorized a firing squad, electrocution and the gas chamber as other means of execution if lethal injection is not available in the state.