Man Who Killed 2 Over Piece of Gravel Is Executed

Christopher Wilkins' execution was first in US in 2017
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 12, 2017 12:21 AM CST
Texas Carries Out First US Execution of 2017
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows death row inmate Christopher Wilkins.   (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

Texas has executed death row inmate Christopher Wilkins, who was convicted of killing two men after one of them mocked him for falling for a phony drug deal. The lethal injection of the 48-year-old Wilkins on Wednesday is the nation's first execution this year, the AP reports. Twenty were carried out in the US last year, the lowest number since the 1980s. Wilkins was declared dead at 6:29pm, 13 minutes after getting a lethal dose of pentobarbital. Before the drug was administered, he twice mouthed "I'm sorry," to two relatives of one of the murder victims as they watched through a window. He gave no final statement. Wilkins had explained to jurors at his capital murder trial in 2008 how and why he killed his friends in Fort Worth three years earlier, saying he didn't care if they sentenced him to death.

Wilkins shot Willie Freeman, 40 and Mike Silva, 33, on Oct. 28, 2005, after Freeman and an unidentified drug supplier duped Wilkins into paying $20 for a piece of gravel he thought was crack cocaine. Freeman was killed after he laughed about the scam and Silva was shot because he was there, Wilkins said, according to court records. Wilkins also testified that the day before the shootings, he shot and killed another man, Gilbert Vallejo, 47, outside a Fort Worth bar in a dispute over a pay phone, and about a week later he used a stolen car to try to run down two people because he believed one of them had taken his sunglasses. "I know they are bad decisions," Wilkins told jurors of his actions. "I make them anyway." (More execution stories.)

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