By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas executed on Thursday a man convicted of murdering a woman by stabbing her repeatedly after breaking into her San Antonio home in 2004.
TaiChin Preyor, 46, died by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said.
The execution was delayed for more than three hours to allow the U.S. Supreme Court time to hear an appeal from Preyor’s lawyer to spare his life, which the court rejected.
The execution was the 543rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.
“First and foremost I’d like to say, ’Justice has never advanced by taking a life’ by Coretta Scott King. Lastly, to my wife and to my kids, I love y’all forever and always. That’s it,” Preyor was quoted as saying in his final statement by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Preyor was convicted in the 2004 killing of Jami Tackett, 24. He also stabbed a man who was with her, who survived.
“Several of Tackett’s neighbors heard her screaming and saw Preyor when he left her apartment,” the Texas Attorney General’s Office said.
Lawyers for Preyor launched the appeal at the court on Thursday, arguing that prior counsel was incompetent and included one lawyer who lost his license two decades earlier and another attorney with no death penalty experience who used Wikipedia to navigate the Texas death penalty system.
“His trial counsel ignored glaring references to significant mitigation evidence, depriving jurors of crucial information likely to persuade them to impose a life sentence,” Preyor’s lawyers said in their filing.
Lawyers for Texas asked the Supreme Court to deny the appeal, saying Preyor had been justly sentenced and should have raised concerns about prior counsel earlier.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Pullin)