Texas Performs 250th Execution on Rick Perry’s Watch

Donnie Lee Roberts, 41, was put to death for the 2003 slaying of his girlfriend in their Lake Livingston home. He was the twelfth man executed by Texas this year. 
Thu November 1, 2012 11:42 pm
Associated Press | Pat Sullivan
Donnie Lee Roberts, who asked to be put to death for the 2003 slaying of his girlfriend, got his wish Wednesday night. He was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m., 23 minutes after the state began administering a lethal dose of pentobarbital.

Roberts shot his girlfriend Vicki Bowen in the head at the Lake Livingston home they shared after she refused to give him money, according to Michael Graczyk of the Associated Press. He then stole several items from her home to use to buy drugs.

Roberts, who had served time in Louisiana for a 2001 armed robbery in Baton Rouge, met Bowen, a 44-year-old dental assistant, when he moved to Texas in violation of the terms of his probation.

Roberts was arrested at a suspected crack house the same day Bowen’s body was discovered, Graczyk reported. A truck belonging to Bowen’s son parked at the house gave him away.

“He was cooperative and confessed several times,” Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon told Graczyk. “He was saying he wanted the death penalty.” He also confessed to killing a man with a shotgun in Louisiana’s Natchitoches Parish in the nineties.

He used his last words to apologize to the victim’s family. “I am truly sorry. I never meant to cause y’all so much pain,” Roberts said, according to the Huntsville Item ’s Cody Stark . “Not one day as passed that I wish I could take it back. After today, I hope you can go on. I hope this brings you closure. God knows I didn’t want to do what I did, I loved your daughter. I hope to God he lets me see her in heaven so I can apologize to her.”

At the Texas Tribune , Ryan Murphy and Brandi Grissom noted that the execution of Roberts was the 250th on Rick Perry’s watch. “It is, by far, the largest number of executions under any recent governor in the United States, and Perry has rarely used his power to grant clemency,” they wrote. “He has granted 31 death row commutations, most of them — 28 — the result of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision banning capital punishment for minors.”

The Tribune’s interactive visualization sorts the executions by year and gives readers easy access to information about each executed offender.

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