HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A man convicted of a fatal robbery at a Dallas-area Subway shop just weeks after he was fired from his job there was executed Thursday night.
Terry Edwards, 43, received lethal injection for the $3,000 holdup at a Subway restaurant where two employees were shot to death in 2002.
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows death row inmate Terry Edwards. Edwards, 43, is set for lethal injection on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. Attorneys for the Edwards say he didn’t do the 2002 shootings and that he had poor legal help at his trial and in earlier appeals. They want a federal court to stop his lethal injection. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)
Asked by a warden if he had a final statement, Edwards replied: “I’m at peace with God. I hope y’all find peace in this.” As the lethal dose of pentobarbital was administered, he began snoring quickly. Within about 30 seconds, all movement stopped.
He was pronounced dead at 10:17 p.m. CST, 23 minutes after the sedative began flowing into his arms. Edwards never looked at five relatives of the two murder victims who stood a few feet from him, looking through a window.
Edwards’ execution, the second this year in Texas and the third nationally, was delayed about four hours until the U.S. Supreme Court rejected multiple last-day appeals that sought to halt his punishment.
Lawyers for Edwards wanted to reopen his case to investigate claims that a court-appointed lawyer earlier in the appeals process provided deficient help by abandoning him. Attorneys also contended Dallas County prosecutors at his trial incorrectly portrayed Edwards as the shooter, that he was innocent of the shootings, that prosecutors manipulated evidence and testimony at his trial and improperly excluded black people from the jury. Edwards was black.
Other attorneys asked the punishment be stopped until the justices resolved an appeal that would require Texas prison officials test the pentobarbital they use for lethal injections to ensure its potency and sterility. Edwards was among several Texas death row inmates who argued the testing was needed to make certain the drug made by an unidentified compounding pharmacy doesn’t cause unconstitutional pain and suffering. The state agreed to testing for two inmates, and Edwards’ attorneys said he deserved the same protections.
Evidence showed Edwards worked at the restaurant in Balch Springs, about 15 miles southeast of Dallas, but had been fired few weeks before the robbery and shootings for stealing from the cash register.
Mickell Goodwin, 26, and Tommy Walker, 34, were each shot in the head in the holdup. Walker, the store manager, had seven children and stepchildren. Goodwin was mother of two daughters. No one else was inside the store.
“Tonight is a time for us to remember Mickey and Tommy,” their families said in a statement following the execution. “Though this chapter of our journey is now over, we will always feel the loss of them in our lives.”
Edwards admitted being in the shop shortly after it opened July 8, 2002, but told police a man he knew as “T-Bone” gave him the gun and did the shootings. Investigators later determined the other man he claimed to not know by name was his cousin.
People in a business next door heard the gunfire and called police who arrived in time to see two men fleeing. One of them, Edwards, was seen running from the shop holding a gun and an officer saw him tossing it in a garbage bin. He was arrested a short time later.
An audio recording in the police car caught Edwards saying he had messed up “big time,” and referring to two murders.
Edwards was on parole at the time of the shootings. He’d been released in October 1999 after prison time for car theft and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.
The second man involved, Edwards’ cousin, Kirk Edwards, turned himself in to police a day after the shootings. He had a previous criminal record for burglary and theft and now is serving 25 years for aggravated robbery for the sandwich shop case.