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TEXAS MAN CALMLY DIES BY INJECTION

SHARE TEXAS MAN CALMLY DIES BY INJECTION

A man who blamed his life of crime on drugs and alcohol was put to death by injection early Thursday for the murder of a woman whose final cries of terror were recorded by a police dispatcher.

Carlos DeLuna became the 33rd murderer executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court's 1976 decision to allow resumption of capital punishment. The total is the highest of any state. Nationwide, 120 people have been put to death.The high court cleared the way for the execution late Wednesday by rejecting a request for a delay.

DeLuna, 27, was pronounced dead at 12:24 a.m., 10 minutes after corrections officials began injecting the lethal drugs into his arm.

"I want to say I hold no grudges, I hate nobody," he said while strapped to a gurney in the death chamber. "I want my family to know I love them. I want to tell everyone on death row to keep the faith up, to keep going. Everything will be all right."

He took three deep breaths and stopped moving.

DeLuna was executed for the Feb. 4, 1983, robbery-slaying of Wanda Jean Lopez, a 24-year-old service station clerk in Corpus Christi.

Lopez had called police for help after customers told her they had seen a man with a knife outside the convenience store-gas station where she worked.

DeLuna came in for a pack of cigarettes, authorities said.

"On the tape, she's talking to the cops. . . . And then you heard that scream," said Steve Schiwetz, who prosecuted DeLuna.

"The last thing she was saying was, `I'll give the money.' But he just wanted to stick her with the knife. It's really a bad deal."