Texas Execution: Defiant Killer Says ‘Cowboy Up’

Texas has executed Carl Henry Blue, the 48-year-old killer with a warped sense of humor who threw gasoline on his ex and set her on fire in 1994. According to CBS News, he said, “Cowboy up. I’m fixin’ to ride, and Jesus is my vehicle.” Last week, the US Supreme Court refused his last appeal, clearing the way for Texas to execute Blue by lethal injection on Thursday evening.

Corrie MacLaggan and David Beasley, reporting for Reuters, noted that it was the first execution in Texas this year. The state normally leads the country in the total number of executions.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) records show that Blue put up an almost two-decade battle to avoid execution for the gruesome crime. When his girlfriend left him for another man, he went to her apartment and threw gasoline on both victims. Then he used a lighter to set the fire.

Carmen Richard-Sanders died several days later of agonizing burns over 40 percent of her body, but the male victim survived.

“Blue turned himself into police, saying the incident was a prank and the victim’s death accidental,” the Texas report states. Blue stuck to the story to the bitter end. “I never meant to hurt your mama,” he told the victim’s daughter, Terrella Richards, while already strapped to the death gurney. He called the execution “crooked justice.”

According to its published schedule, Texas will perform 11 more executions through the end of July. The upcoming April execution of Kimberly McCarthy for a 1997 stabbing murder of a 70-year-old woman was recently rescheduled hours before her January execution date. Michael Graczyk for the Huffington Post reported that State District Judge Larry Mitchell wanted to give her lawyers a chance to appeal on the basis of possible improper jury selection. McCarthy is black and her jury was mostly white.

The Texas execution of Carl Henry Blue, who thought setting two people on fire was a perfectly understandable prank, means that his 18-plus year fight for life is finally over.