Washington: Texas has executed a 70-year-old man, becoming the oldest person the US state has put to death since the modern era of the death penalty began in the 1970s.
Billie Coble was pronounced dead at 6.24 p.m. on Thursday after receiving a lethal injection at Huntsville prison (near Houston), according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Coble was the oldest of 560 prisoners executed in Texas since the reinstatement of the death penalty over 40 years ago, Efe news reported.
In 1989, Coble had been married to his wife, Karen, for a little over a year when she told him that she wanted a divorce.
Shortly thereafter, on August 28, Coble killed Karen’s parents – Robert and Zelda Vicha – and her brother Bobby, who lived in two houses in the small town of Axtell, near Waco.
When Karen returned home from work that day, she found her four children tied up by Coble, who told her that he had just murdered her relatives.
He then kidnapped her at gunpoint in his car before a police patrol began to follow Coble, who ended up crashing the vehicle.
At the trial months later, it became clear that Coble had a long history of violence and sexual abuse against his former spouses and young girls, and evidence of a traumatising childhood was heard.
The jury sentenced him to death.
Coble became the second prisoner executed this year in Texas and the third in the country.
Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in the US in 1976, a total of 1,493 prisoners have been executed in the country, most of them in Texas.