Jose Luis Villegas Jr., 39, was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m.
CDT (8.04 p.m. ET) after receiving a lethal dose of drugs at the
Texas death chamber in Huntsville, the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice said.
"I have peace in my heart and (I'm) ready for the next journey,"
he said in a statement written before his execution.
Villegas was the seventh person executed in Texas this year and
the 17th in the United States, according to the Death Penalty
Information Center, which tracks executions.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal to halt the
execution by Villegas' lawyers, who argued that he was
developmentally disabled and should not be executed.
According to court documents, intelligence testing conducted for
his defense in February, after his execution date was set,
indicated that Villegas had mental retardation. The state argued
in part he had strong incentive to perform poorly on the test.
Villegas confessed that the day of the killings he had consumed
about $200 worth of cocaine with his 24-year-old girlfriend,
Erida Perez Salazar, at the home she shared with her parents,
according to court documents.
After her mother, Alma Perez, 51, ordered Villegas to leave the
house, he stabbed her dozens of times with a kitchen knife and
then proceeded to a bedroom where he stabbed his girlfriend and
her son Jacob, 3, numerous times each, according to court
Villegas then left the house and drove off in Salazar's vehicle
and sold a television he stole from the home to buy more
cocaine, according to court documents.
He had planned to return to the house to kill himself with an
overdose of cocaine, but tried to flee when he saw police were
already there, according to court documents. He was caught by
police after a high-speed chase and foot pursuit.
Texas has executed 515 people, more than a third of all
executions in the United States since the Supreme Court
reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death
Penalty Information Center.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee;
editing by Sharon
Bernstein and Lisa Shumaker)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.