Richard Masterson, 43, was put to death by lethal injection at the
state's death chamber in Huntsville. Masterson was pronounced dead
at 6:53 p.m., the official said.
"Sending me to a better place. I am all right with this, you have to
live and die by the choices that we make," Masterson was quoted by
prisons officials as saying in his final statement.
The execution was the state's first this year and its 532nd since
the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the
most of any state.
There were 13 executions last year in Texas, according to the Death
Penalty Information Center, which monitors U.S. capital punishment.
Masterson's lawyers had launched appeals with the U.S. Supreme Court
to halt the execution, saying his due process rights were violated
and Texas presented false and misleading evidence regarding the
death of Darin Honeycutt, 35, who went by the stage name of Brandi
The Supreme Court denied the motions on Wednesday.
Pope Francis had been hoping for a reprieve, Catholic World News
reported this week.
Masterson's lawyers said there was no struggle, no murder and the
death was accidental. They also questioned the credibility of the
medical examiner who called the death a homicide.
"Petitioner has never denied that he restricted the complainant's
airflow, but only that it occurred during a consensual sexual
encounter," they said in a court filing.
Texas prosecutors said that after Masterson killed Honeycutt, he
left the state in the victim's car, which was found days later in
Georgia being driven by a nephew of Masterson.
[to top of second column]
After fleeing to Florida, Masterson met a man in a bar frequented by
gay men. The two went to the man's apartment and Masterson placed
him a headlock, trying to strangle him, prosecutors said.
The man passed out and when he regained consciousness, he found that
his car and wallet were gone, authorities said.
A Florida police officer ran across the stolen car at a mobile home
park, which led to Masterson's arrest.
At his trial in 2002, Masterson, who has a long criminal record, did
not admit to the murder.
He took the stand and said he was a danger to society, daring jurors
to sentence him to death, which they did.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.