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Texas Executes Man Who Killed Over His Job Assignment

Travis Runnels didn't want to work in shoe factory
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2019 1:28 AM CST
Travis Runnels is seen In this photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. .   (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

(Newser) – A Texas inmate was executed by lethal injection Wednesday evening for killing a supervisor at a state prison shoe factory in Amarillo nearly 17 years ago. Travis Runnels, 46, was convicted of slashing the throat of 38-year-old Stanley Wiley on Jan. 29, 2003. Runnels was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. Prosecutors say Runnels killed Wiley at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Clements Unit in Amarillo because he didn’t like working as a janitor at the factory, which makes shoes for state inmates, the AP reports. They said Runnels had wanted to transfer to a job at the prison barber shop and was angry at Wiley because that hadn't happened. Runnels became the 22nd inmate put to death this year in the US and the ninth in Texas.

He had been serving a 70-year sentence for an aggravated robbery conviction from Dallas when he killed Wiley with a knife used to trim shoes. Attorney Janet Gilger-VanderZanden said Runnels changed during his 14 years on death row. "There is true and authentic remorse for the death of Mr. Wiley. There are no excuses, rather there is a commitment to finding some kind of light in what was once a world of only darkness," she said. Earlier Wednesday, the US Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Runnels’ attorneys, who said a prosecution witness at his 2005 trial provided false testimony and that no defense was presented because his lawyers advised him to plead guilty and called no witnesses.

(Read more Texas stories.)

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