The Texas Tribune reports that the U.S. Supreme Court denied a death row inmate’s last-minute appeals, causing his execution to continue as scheduled. William Rayford, 64, had been on death row for 17 years for his conviction for murdering an ex-girlfriend.
In Rayford’s appeals, he stated that his sentencing in 1999 was subject to racial prejudice. He also claimed he was denied federal funding to look further into evidence that may have swayed the jury to hand him a lesser sentence. His attorneys used cases of two other death row inmates as examples as to why the high court should have stayed his execution.
All of Rayford’s appeals were denied and he was executed via lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas.
When asked for his last words in the chamber, he asked for forgiveness from the victim’s family.
In the original case, he was convicted of kidnapping and killing Carol Hall, 44. According to court records, he began arguing with her in her home when her 12-year-old son intervened and Rayford stabbed him in the back. He then chased Hall out of the house, and when her body was discovered later, she had been beaten, stabbed and strangled.
Previously, Rayford pleaded guilty to murdering his ex-wife in 1986, and served eight of his 23-year sentence.
Rayford sought a stay of execution first with the parole board and Governor Greg Abbott, compiling a mental evaluation using money granted to him by a judge. The stay was unanimously voted against by the board, and the governor would not delay Rayford’s scheduled execution.
Rayford’s was the second execution in Texas in 2018.
*Photo credit Texas Department of Criminal Justice