SCOTUS Allows Texas Execution to Proceed

2 more executions are scheduled for Thursday
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2022 8:47 AM CST
Texas Executes Man Who Killed Pregnant Ex, Her Son
This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Richard Fairchild.   (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

There were 11 executions in the US in 2021, the lowest total in decades, but that number has already been surpassed this year, with more executions to come. In Texas, Stephen Barbee was executed Wednesday evening for the murders of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son in 2005. The 55-year-old's execution by lethal injection took an unusually long time because of a medical issue that his lawyers had sought to halt the execution over, the Texas Tribune reports. He was unable to straighten his arms and lay them flat because of severe joint deterioration. "Due to his inability to extend his arms, it took longer to ensure he had functional IV lines," prison spokesperson Amanda Hernandez said.

In a confession that he later recanted, Barbee admitted suffocating 34-year-old Lisa Underwood and her son at their Fort Worth home, the Tribune reports. He said he was worried she would tell his ex-wife her unborn baby was his and he would have to pay child support. She was seven months pregnant and DNA evidence showed Barbee was not the father. Barbee was pronounced dead nearly 90 minutes after he was strapped to the death chamber's gurney. Courts rejected an appeal based on Barbee's disability and another that argued his religious rights were being violated. Barbee's spiritual adviser was allowed to hold his hand and pray during the execution, but Barbee's lawyers argued that Texas should make that permission a "clear policy" instead of making decisions on a case-by-case basis.

On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court rejected Barbee's request to postpone the execution, SCOTUSblog reports. Earlier in the day, the court allowed the execution of Arizona inmate Murray Hooper to proceed. Barbee was the 15th inmate in the US executed so far this year and the fifth in Texas, the AP reports. Two more executions are scheduled for Thursday. In Oklahoma, Richard Fairfield is scheduled to be executed on his 63rd birthday for the 1993 murder of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son, reports Newsweek. In Alabama, 57-year-old Kenneth Smith is scheduled to be executed for his role in the 1988 murder-for-hire killing of a preacher's wife, per CNN. (Read more execution stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.