Man's Last Words Before Execution: 'That'll Be $5'

Billie Wayne Coble, 70, killed estranged wife's parents and brother, who was a cop
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 1, 2019 7:29 AM CST
Man's Last Words Before Execution: 'That'll Be $5'
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Billie Wayne Coble.   (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

A Texas inmate was executed Thursday evening for the killings nearly 30 years ago of his estranged wife's parents and her brother, who was a police officer. Billie Wayne Coble received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the August 1989 shooting deaths of Robert and Zelda Vicha and their son, Bobby Vicha, at separate homes in Axtell, northeast of Waco. Coble, 70, once described by a prosecutor as having "a heart full of scorpions," was the oldest inmate executed by Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982. Asked to make a final statement, Coble replied: "That'll be $5." He told the five witnesses he selected to be in attendance that he loved them, then again said: "That'll be $5." Coble nodded to the witnesses and added, "take care," reports the AP.

He gasped several times and began snoring. As Coble was finishing his statement, his son, a friend, and a daughter-in-law became emotional and violent. They were yelling obscenities, throwing fists, and kicking at others in the death chamber witness area. Officers stepped in and the witnesses continued to resist. They were eventually moved to a courtyard and the two men were handcuffed. "Why are you doing this?" the woman asked. "They just killed his daddy." While the witnesses were being subdued outside, the single dose of pentobarbital was being administered to Coble. He was pronounced dead 11 minutes later at 6:24pm. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel said the two men were arrested on a charge of resisting arrest and taken to the Walker County Jail. (Read much more on the case here.)

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