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Texas killer is executed quickly without spectacle

Convicted killer Steven Renfro was executed just the way he wanted to be - quickly and with little spectacle.

Renfro, 40, died by injection Monday night for killing three people during a drug-induced shooting rampage in his hometown of Marshall. He was convicted less than 10 months ago."I am so sorry," he told his victims' families just before his death. "Forgive me if you can. I know it's impossible, but try."

Then he began praying: "Take my hand, Lord Jesus, I'm coming home."

Renfro blinked and gasped three times before he stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m.

"I think it should have been rougher," James Carpenter, whose stepbrother George Counts was among those killed by Renfro. "I can't forgive him. The electric chair would have been nice."

Renfro's death received little of the attention that accompanied Karla Faye Tucker's execution last week. Hundreds of spectators and media members from around the world converged on the prison for the execution of the pickax-killer.

On Aug. 25, 1996, Renfro put on camouflage clothing, blackened his face and armed himself with four guns, including a military assault rifle, and 500 rounds of ammunition. He later told authorities he had taken 70 doses of the tranquilizer Valium, along with liquor.

He shot and killed his live-in girlfriend, Rhena Fultner, 36, and an aunt who lived with them, Rose Rutledge, 63. He then went to the nearby trailer of Counts, 40, against whom he had a grudge, and shot him, firing more than 150 rounds into the mobile home.

He also wounded a police officer and was only captured after one of his weapons malfunctioned.

In April, after a jury convicted him of capital murder, he ended his trial by telling jurors he should be put to death. The former laborer asked that no appeals be filed on his behalf.