U.S. To Continue Executions Through Transition In Break

The Justice Department is proceeding with plans for more federal executions in the closing days of President Trump's administration, including two scheduled shortly before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Attorney General William Barr announced the moves, connected with what he called "staggeringly brutal murders," in a statement late Friday. The Justice Department said the directives amounted to a continuation of its policy since last year when it relaunched federal executions after an informal moratorium that had been in place for 17 years. If the Justice Department plan moves forward, 13 people will have faced death by lethal injection during the Trump administration. Legal experts who follow capital punishment said that would be the most since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who served 12 years in office before his death in 1945. RELATED |  U.S.: Barr's Justice Department Prepares To End Trump's Term With an Execution Spree Robert Du

Texas executes Rickey Lynn Lewis

Rickey Lynn Lewis
Rickey Lynn Lewis
(CBS/AP) HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Rickey Lynn Lewis, an East Texas man convicted of killing a man and raping his fiancee in 1990, was executed Tuesday evening in Huntsville, Texas.

Six months after Lewis, 50, was paroled in early 1990 from a 25-year term for a third burglary conviction, he was arrested for shooting and killing 45-year-old George Newman, raping Newman's fiancée and stealing her truck after breaking into the couple's home about 90 miles east of Dallas in Smith County.

On Tuesday, Lewis, of Tyler, became the second man executed in Texas this year. Three more are to follow this month in the nation's most active death penalty state.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Friday rejected a clemency petition for Lewis and the U.S. Supreme Court a week ago refused to review Lewis' case. "I think at this point we're out of options," Lewis' attorney, Seth Kretzer, said.

Newman's fiancé, Connie Hilton, said her barking dog woke her the night of Sept. 17, 1990. She got out of bed and saw a man in the hallway with a shotgun. Newman responded to her scream and was gunned down. The dog was also killed.

Hilton was assaulted for over an hour by Lewis while two other men, who never were identified or found, stole items from the house. She was left in the kitchen, hands and feet bound, as Lewis and his partners fled in her truck. She managed to free herself, crawled to Newman's body, and then climbed out a window. She drove to a store for help.

Lewis was arrested three days later after he was seen with some of the items taken from the home. DNA evidence linked him to the attack.

Lewis, acknowledged the rape, but not the killing.

"If I hadn't raped you, you wouldn't have lived," he told the rape victim in the moments before the single lethal dose of pentobarbital was administered. "I didn't kill Mr. Newman and I didn't rob your house.

"I was just there. ... I'm sorry for what you've gone through. It wasn't me that harmed and stole all of your stuff."

Fourteen minutes after the lethal dose began, Lewis was pronounced dead.

Lewis becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Texas and the 494th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on Dec. 7, 1982.

Lewis becomes the 255th condemned inmate to be put to death in Texas since Rick Perry became Governor in 2001.

Lewis becomes the 6th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1326th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. 

Sources: CBS, AP, Rick Halperin, April 9, 2013

Last words of Ricky Lewis:
"Ms. Connie Hilton, I'm sorry for what happened to you. If I hadn't raped you, then you wouldn't have lived. If you look at the transcripts, I didn't kill Mr. Newman and I didn't rob your house. There are two people still alive. I was just there. When I saw you in the truck driving away, I could have killed you but I didn't. I'm not a killer. My momma was abused. I'm sorry for what you've gone through. It wasn't me that harmed and stole all of your stuff. If you look at the transcripts you will see. I ask the good Lord to forgive me.
I love ya'll; Sheena, my sister, momma, and daddy. Ya'll pray for me, keep up the fight. Get the transcripts, let the truth come out so that I do not die in vain. I thank the Lord for the man I am today. I have done all I can to better myself, to learn to read and write. Take me to my King. I love ya'll and thank you for the love you gave me. I respect all of ya'll. Ms. Hilton. Ok. Let me rest. It's burning." (Source: Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement)

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