A man convicted of killing an elderly woman and her daughter in their home and then stealing the daughter’s car and credit card became the fifth Texas death row inmate to be executed.
State officials pronounced 64-year-old Billy Jack Crutsinger dead at 6:40 p.m. on Wednesday inside the Huntsville “Walls” Unit.
For his final words, Crutsinger said to three personal witnesses, “There is a lot of this I don’t understand, but the system is not completely right. It’s not completely wrong but, it is something that has to be done until something better comes along. But, I am at peace with that and I am OK and I can live with that.”
His full final statement lasted nearly four minutes, and he was declared dead 13 minutes after administered a lethal dose of pentobarbital.
He would go on to narrate the process, before taking 29 deep snores.
“I feel it … in my left arm,” Crutsinger said. “It is kind of burning.”
Crutsinger, who confessed to the murder of an 89-year-old woman and her daughter more than 16 years ago in their Fort Worth home, fought his date with death until the end, claiming that his previous attorney had a long history of incompetence in death penalty cases.
“The jury heard nothing from the defense that provided an explanation about the disease of alcoholism in relation to the offense conduct, including “a history of domestic violence and abuse, and repeated losses of significant friends and relatives,” Lydia Brandt, Crutsinger’s current attorney, wrote in her one of her Supreme Court petitions.
Brandt also argued that lower courts have wrongly denied Crutsinger funding to investigate competency and mental health claims that were not sufficiently reviewed by prior attorneys.
All of his appeals were denied and Crutsinger became the 14th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the fifth in Texas.
Crutsinger was sentenced to death in 2003 for the murder of Patricia Syren and her mother Pearl “RD” Magouirka. Court records show that the duo had hired him to work at their house in Fort Worth, but when he realized they didn’t have enough work to give him much financial relief, he flew into an alcoholic rage.
He stole a credit card belonging to the younger woman and escaped in her Cadillac after stabbing them to death. Investigators quickly tracked Crutsinger down when he used the credit card to buy drinks at a bar in Galveston.
The blood-stained Cadillac was found outside a Fort Worth bar. The bloody clothes that Crutsinger wore during the killings were later recovered in trash bin near another bar.
Crutsinger was arrested at the Galveston bar the day after the car and bodies were discovered. He confessed to the murder and agreed to have a DNA sample taken.
Another Texas execution is scheduled for next week, as Mark Anthony Soliz is scheduled to be put to death for a murder in Johnson County.