- (Photo: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)
Arturo Diaz, 37, was executed by the State of Texas last night for a murder committed 14 years ago. Before dying, Diaz offered last-minute advice for youth and told his family that he was "with God."
Diaz said he hoped his death "serves as an example for some youngsters … Think about it before you do drugs."
During his trial, Diaz said he was high on drugs and alcohol during the attack on Michael Nichols, whom he murdered in 1999. He also confessed to another murder and was given a longer jail term after sexually assaulting a fellow inmate. Diaz was given two life sentences for attempted capital murder.
Diaz's family, as well as Michael's father, Forrest, observed the execution, which was the 13th carried out in Texas this year. He received an injection of pentobarbital, took several deep breaths, began snoring and stopped moving within one minute, reports state. He was pronounced dead 17 minutes later.
"It was way too easy," Forrest Nichols told the Associated Press.
Before his death, Diaz tried to apologize to Nichols for the pain he caused and reassured his family of his future.
"I hope this can bring some relief for you and your family," he told Nichols. "I am with God," Diaz then said in Spanish to his relatives.
Diaz's lawyers tried to save his life but the Supreme Court denied all appeals and the execution was carried out. They argued that he had insufficient legal help, but the Supreme Court struck down that argument.
"You know it's going to take some time for all the appeals and everything to go through," attorney Cregg Thompson, lead prosecutor, told the AP earlier this week. "But when you say 14 years, that sounds like an awful long time."
Texas is currently one of the states undergoing a shortage of the drug needed to carry out the execution. Yet there are no plans to cease scheduled executions, though officials refuse to say how they plan to get the drug in the future.
"We have not changed our current execution protocol and have no immediate plans to do so," Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark told the L.A. Times.