Huntsville, TX – Texas has executed a man convicted of a 2002 abduction and killing.
Richard Cobb, 29, was executed Thursday evening, more than 11 years after he used a 20-gauge shotgun to kill 24-year-old Kenneth Vandever in an East Texas field.
The killing followed a convenience store robbery that was carried out by Cobb and a partner, Beunka Adams. After taking cash from the store, the pair abducted Vandever, a customer, and two staff members, Candace Driver and Nikki Daniels.
The abductees were then driven away, with one of the women raped and all three shot in a field and left for dead. It was reported at the time that Driver and Daniels played dead, an act that potentially spared their lives. Both would later testify against Cobb and Adams.
Richard Cobb never denied his crime and was convicted of capital murder. On Thursday evening, Cobb delivered his final words from the gurney:
“Life is death, death is life. I hope that someday this absurdity that humanity has come to will come to an end. Life is too short. I hope anyone that has negative energy towards me will resolve that. Life is too short to harbor feelings of hatred and anger. That’s it, warden.”
Yet there was more to come from Cobb. As the lethal drug began to take effect, the killer turned his head towards the warden behind him and loudly declared:
“Wow! That is great. That is awesome! Thank you, warden! Thank you (expletive) warden!”
His head then fell back to the pillow, and he remained that way for 15 minutes. A physician entered the death chamber and pronounced Cobb dead at 6:27 pm.
The father, stepmother, and stepbrother of the man shot and killed by Cobb were among the witnesses to the execution. One of the women shot and attacked by Cobb was also present.
Discussing his crime with The Associated Press in 2004, Cobb described his actions as “basically […] an act of compulsion.” He added, “[I was] young, dumb and made a mistake. I’m guilty of the crime.”