Texas has carried out its first execution of the year with the death of Carl Henry Blue last night. He died by lethal injection but told people to get their lives right with God before dying.
"I'm talking to each and every soul in this building, in this room," Blue said before the execution began. "Get your life right. I don't hate nobody; you're doing what you think is your job. God's law is above this law," he added, according to The Eagle of Bryan-College Station.
Blue was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Carmen Richards-Sanders. He was accused, and found guilty, of pouring gasoline on her and then setting her on fire. She died of her injuries 19 days later.
Blue then set another man on fire, but he survived the attack and testified against Blue. He turned himself in to police just hours after both attacks. His attorney attempted to portray Blue as a heartbroken man who had just discovered the "one true love in his life" with another man, The Republic reported.
"When I went to knock, she snatched the door open and had a cigarette. I wasted gas on both of them. And she caught on fire, and he caught on fire, and I took off running … I was scared, man," Blue told authorities.
Blue received a reprieve when his sentence was overturned by a federal judge who said it was illegal for a psychologist to testify that a black man was more likely to commit an act of violence. However, that appeal was again overturned and Blue sentenced to death in 2001.
Texas is famous for its institutional use of the death penalty; at least 11 inmates are scheduled to be put to death this year alone. Last year, 15 were killed, which is a relatively small number for the state that has executed nearly 500 people since 1976.