The state of Texas executed convicted killer Adam Ward on Tuesday night for the 2005 murder of a city employee. The 33-year-old inmate was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. after receiving a lethal injection at the state prison in Huntsville.
The Texas execution last night was the second one for the state in just the past two weeks. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Coy Wesbrook was also put to death in Huntsville for a 1997 shooting rampage that left his ex-wife and four others dead.
In a last-ditch attempt to stop the execution, attorneys for Adam Ward filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that the death row prisoner suffered from severe mental illness, which would make him ineligible for the death penalty.
“The crime for which Mr. Ward received the penalty of death was an act inextricable from the delusions and paranoia fed by his disabling bipolar disorder,” lawyers for Ward said in the petition.
State attorneys countered by saying Ward’s IQ was at least 123 and the appeal was improper as it did not present any new issues. In the 2007 murder trial, defense attorneys had already presented the mental health problems, and then again in subsequent unsuccessful appeals. The justices decided to deny the appeal just two hours before the Texas execution.
In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled people with IQs lower than 70 cannot be executed. Yet, there are exceptions if a mentally-impaired prisoner understands they are about to be executed and why they are facing such a punishment.
On June 13, 2005, city code officer Michael Walker was on assignment to inspect Ward’s property in Commerce, Texas, about 65 miles northeast of Dallas. Previously, there had been reports of garbage piles in the yard, which prompted the city to investigate. According to the Texas Attorney General’s office, both Ward and his father were hoarders.
When Walker began taking pictures, Ward sprayed the city worker with a hose and then began to argue with him. During the altercation, the city officer shouted he was calling for back up. Ward took that to mean police were coming with the intention to kill him.
“Mr. Walker walked into a hornet’s nest and didn’t know it,” trial attorney Dennis Davis said. “He had no idea that was the exact wrong thing to say to that person.”
Walker called for assistance and waited near his truck. Ward walked inside the home, grabbed one of his many guns, and he then came outside and shot Walker.
“After Walker fell, Ward shot him again at close range. Walker sustained nine gunshot wounds in total and died,” the AG’s office stated.
After his arrest, Ward admitted to killing Walker because he believed the city had targeted his family and was planning to tear down the house. Ward and his father had been given tickets several times for violating housing and zoning codes and had been battling with the city for years.
“Only time any shots were fired on my behalf was when I was matching force with force,” Ward said last month during an interview from a visiting cage outside death row. “I wish it never happened but it did, and I have to live with what it is.”
Court records show that Walker, 44, did not have a weapon and was only carrying a camera and cellphone.
Dick Walker, the city employee’s father, was a medical technician at the time of the shooting and was the first emergency responder to arrive on the scene. Over the years, the elder Walker has tried to forgive Ward for the murder, but Walker feels the death penalty was the right punishment for the crime.
The Texas execution of Adam Ward was the fifth for the state this year and the ninth nationally. During the sentencing phase of the death row inmate’s murder trial, jurors rejected the defense arguments for a life sentence without parole.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers/Getty Images]