HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) – A man convicted of killing five people including his ex-wife in a 1997 shooting rampage near Houston was put to death Wednesday.
Coy Wesbrook’s lethal injection was the eighth this year nationally and fourth in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any state. Two Georgia inmates have been executed so far in 2016, plus one each in Alabama and Florida.
Before being executed, the 58-year-old Wesbrook apologized profusely to relatives to some of his victims who witnessed the punishment.
He was pronounced dead at 8:04 p.m. CST – 18 minutes after the lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital began taking effect.
The execution was delayed about 90 minutes after a death penalty opponent’s late appeal that was rejected by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals hours earlier appeared to be headed to a higher court. The appeal sought another review of claims that Wesbrook was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
“The main thing in my case is five victims, five shots, five bodies and everybody died,” Wesbrook said recently from death row.
The five killed were Wesbrook’s ex-wife, Gloria Jean Coons, 32; her roommate, Diana Ruth Money, 43; and three men: Antonio Cruz, 35, Anthony Ray Rogers, 41, and Kelly Hazlip, 28.
Wesbrook, a former security guard and delivery driver, married Coons in 1995. They divorced the following year but continued seeing each other. They had lunch Nov. 12, 1997, and talked about reconciling. That was on his mind when he showed up that night at her apartment in Channelview, just east of Houston. Instead, he found people partying.
He testified at his 1998 trial that Coons humiliated him by having sex with two of the men at the party while he was there. He said when he tried to leave, Cruz grabbed the keys to his truck and joined others in taunting him. He said he “lost it,” walked out, grabbed a rifle he kept in the truck and returned, shooting each person once. Coons was the final victim.
Court records show the five shots were fired within 40 seconds. Each victim was shot at close range.
Neighbors who heard the gunfire and called police saw Wesbrook emerge from the apartment, place the rifle inside his truck and stand calmly by the tailgate of the pickup to wait for sheriff’s deputies to arrive.
“If I could change things and turn back time and bring all these people back and I could be in my right mind and not under the influence of any alcohol, none of this would have taken place,” Wesbrook said in the death row interview.
At least 10 other Texas inmates are scheduled to be executed in the coming months, including two later this month.