A Texas man who killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son more than 17 years ago was executed by lethal injection Wednesday.
Stephen Barbee, 55, was pronounced dead at 7:35 p.m. local time at Huntsville State Penitentiary. Barbee was convicted of the February 2005 death of Lisa Underwood, 34, and her son, Jayden. The mother and son were found buried in a shallow grave in Denton County after being suffocated to death at her Fort Worth home.
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Prosecutors said Barbee killed them because he did not want his wife to know that Underwood was seven months pregnant. However, DNA evidence later revealed that Barbee was not the father.
He confessed to police that he killed Underwood and Jayden, but later recanted, claiming the confession was forced. Since then he has maintained his innocence, saying that he was framed by his business associate.
Before her death, Barbee spoke about her faith in God. He also said that he hoped it was not a sad time for his family and friends.
Barbee did not mention Underwood or his son. He also did not look in the direction of the family and friends of his victims.
TEXAS INMATE SENTENCED FOR MURDERING PREGNANT EX-GIRLFRIEND AND 7-YEAR-OLD SON SEEKS TO STOP EXECUTION
He cried when he told the warden to send him “home.”
“I just want everyone to have peace in their hearts,” he said.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had refused to commute Barbee’s death sentence to a lesser sentence or grant a four-month reprieve.
The US Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Barbee’s lawyers to halt her execution over allegations of violations of religious freedom and disregard for her medical needs.
He was the fifth inmate to be executed this year in Texas and was the last inmate scheduled to be executed this year in the state.
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In the US, 15 people, including Barbee, have been executed by lethal injection in 2022 with two more scheduled for Thursday.
Associated Press contributed to this report.