Texas inmate convicted of killing elderly man

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A Texas detainee who was convicted of killing an old man in his home after he stole his truck nearly 30 years ago was executed by the state on Wednesday.Billy Joe Wardlow, 45, was declared dead at 6:52 p.m. CDT after a lethal injection at the state enforcement branch in Huntsville for the murder of Carl Cole, 82, in 1993.

He made no final statements, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Wardlow’s lawyers tried in vain to stay the proceedings, arguing that since he was 18 years old at the time of the crime, he was not fully able to understand his actions and therefore should not face the death penalty.

Texas has executed more prisoners than any other state since the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Wardlow was the third detainee in Texas and the seventh in the United States to be executed in 2020.

Prosecutors accused Wardlow and his girlfriend Tonya Fulfer of going to Cole’s house in Cason, a rural town in northeast Texas, June 14, 1993. After Wardlow was shot in the head in a ‘A struggle, the couple fled with Cole’s Chevrolet van, court records have shown.

The pair planned to use the truck to travel to Montana, but traded the truck for a 1987 Ford Mustang convertible at a Nebraska car dealership the next day.

They were arrested a day later in South Dakota. Authorities found a pistol in the Mustang that matched the weapon used in the murder, court documents showed.

Wardlow was convicted of qualified murder in 1995 and sentenced to death. Fulfer was sentenced to 10 years probation, according to local media.

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