Texas Carries Out First Execution In Five Months

Barbara Schwarz
July 09, 2020 - 5:41 am

    Billy Wardlow was put to death for the 1993 murder of  82-year-old Carl Cole, 33 years ago in the East Texas town of Cason in Morris County. 

    The shooting took place during a bungled attempt to steal Cole's truck. Wardlow and his girlfriend were later found in South Dakota. 

    Eight executions scheduled between February and Wednesday have been postponed. Six were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and two due to different issues. 

    Witnesses included a family friend of Cole's as well as state officials and two news reporters. 

    Robert Hurst with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says "the agency had precautionary measures in place, including masks and temperature checks for all of the witnesses.  We did require witnesses to stand six feet apart.  There are two small viewing rooms in the execution chamber and both of those did have prison officials and the witness for the inmate and the reporters.  From what I understand, everybody did comply with the procedures that were put in place."

    Wardlow was actually first scheduled to be executed April 29th but his date was postponed due to the pandemic.

    Wardlow was 18 at the time of the crime.  His attorneys unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court that he was too young for the jury to determine he was so great a future danger that the death penalty was warranted.

    He did not offer a final statement. 

    The execution was the third in Texas this year.