Texas prisoner Raphael Holiday was executed on Wednesday for killing three children. The prisoner had set fire to a mobile home, trapping his daughter and two stepdaughters inside.
Texas executed 36-year-old Raphael Holiday, who was convicted of killing his daughter and two stepdaughters in a mobile home blaze in 2000. While Holiday became the 13th convicted killer who was put to death this year in Texas, the state has executed more than 500 death row inmates since 1976.
Holiday was put to death with a combination of injections that are meant to cause a quick and painless death. The lethal injection was administered at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville. Holiday was pronounced dead at 8:30 p.m. confirmed a prison official. His death was inevitable after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal. Incidentally, a state judge had granted a reprieve earlier in the day. However, the Texas Attorney General’s office appealed the reprieve, and the warrant was reinstated, thereby sealing Holiday’s fate.
Raphael Holiday was convicted of killing his 18-month-old daughter and her two young half-sisters at their mother’s Madison County home 15 years ago, reported KBXT. Holiday killed Tierra Lynch, 7; Jasmine DuPaul, 5; and Justice Holiday, 1, in a rural community about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Houston. He was residing with his common law wife Tami Wilkerson. However, his wife secured a restraining order against him. He had allegedly sexually assaulted young Tierra, according to Texas attorney general’s office, reported MSN.
Since the restraining order, Holiday was living away from the family. About six months passed by, before he tried to reconcile with Wilkerson. Violating his restraining order, Raphael Holiday marched up to the house. Denied entry, he forced the girls’ grandmother at gunpoint to douse the home with gasoline. Curiously, Holiday still claims he has no idea how the home caught fire. Perhaps he was merely threatening to set the house on fire, and it actually did.
“I loved my kids,” Holiday said. “I never would do harm to any of them,” reported CBS News.
Notwithstanding his intentions, the three girls were inside the mobile home when it caught fire and burned to the ground, killing them in the inferno. The bodies of the girls were later discovered in the charred remains of the house. They were huddled together, as if trying to console and protect each other during their last moments.
Watching the rising inferno, Raphael Holiday fled. He was later caught, but not before he had led cops on a long and dangerous high-speed car chase.
Holiday’s execution was scheduled to happen on this Wednesday. However, an Austin attorney asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the death by lethal injection, arguing that the lawyers, which were earlier appointed by the court, hadn’t done enough to ensure Holiday received a fair trial. He argued that the court-appointed lawyers had “abandoned” Holiday.
Apparently, the lawyers were being blamed by the new attorney of acting against Holiday’s wishes and abandoning further rounds of court filings intended to spare his life. The new lawyer claimed the old ones told his client that any further appeals were hopeless and they didn’t want to offer “false hope,” court papers show. Though seemingly cruel, the Supreme Court did deny a request to put Holiday’s execution on hold. The Court didn’t accept the excuse that there were any problems with the way his trial was conducted.
As his last statement, Raphael Holiday mentioned he was thankful to all.
“Yes, I would like to thank all of my supporters and loved ones. I love you. Love y’all, always going to be with y’all. Thank you Warden.”
Raphael Holiday was the 531st inmate that was executed by Texas since 1976, the year when U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty. Texas accounted for half of all executions in the U.S. so far this year and is at the forefront of executing prisoners.
[Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images, Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images, Texas Department of Criminal Justice]