HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas death row inmate convicted of killing a fellow drug dealer while robbing him outside of a Waco convenience store 10 years ago was executed Tuesday evening.
In the seconds before being injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital, Carroll Joe Parr told his victim's wife she should talk to her brother to learn "the truth about what happened to your husband."
Then, in what he called a "statement to the world," Parr said he was "in the midst of the truth."
"I am good. I am straight," he said.
He added that he wanted his "partners" or friends to know that he would "be back" like the Arnold Schwarzenegger "Terminator" film character.
"I'm on my way back. ... These eyes will close, but they will be opened again," Parr said before telling his family he loved them and thanking his spiritual adviser.
As the lethal drug began flowing into his arms, he took a breath, yawned, then began snoring. He was pronounced dead 19 minutes later, at 6:32 p.m. CDT.
Parr's attorneys didn't file any last-minute court appeals but Parr himself filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop his punishment, arguing his legal help at his trial was deficient. Earlier Tuesday, the same appeal was denied by a judge in his trial court in Waco.
State and federal courts had rejected all of Parr's earlier appeals, most recently last week.
Parr, 35, became the fifth inmate executed this year in Texas, which has 10 others scheduled for the coming months including one next week.
Known as "Outlaw" on the streets, he had told The Associated Press during a recent interview that he was resigned to his fate — and even welcomed it — although he insisted someone else killed 18-year-old Joel Dominguez.
"Death to me is the prize," Parr said. "My eyes are clear."
Prosecutors said Parr bought 7 pounds of marijuana from Dominguez for $2,500 on Jan. 11, 2003, and he and a friend, Earl Whiteside, went to rob Dominguez of the money later that evening. They said Parr and Whiteside herded Dominguez and another man, Mario Chavez, to a fenced area next to the store, where Parr pistol-whipped Dominguez and demanded the money, which Dominguez gave him.
Parr ordered Whiteside to "smoke 'em," according to court documents. Whiteside shot Chavez in the hand. Parr shot Dominguez in the head.
Parr said he was nowhere near the convenience store at the time of the killing and contended a surveillance video that showed him there was doctored by prosecutors.
"They chopped the tape," he said.
Parr declined to say who did the shooting, saying he "gave the dudes my word" that he wouldn't snitch on them.
Whiteside, who is serving a 15-year sentence for aggravated robbery, testified that Parr was the one who shot and killed Dominguez. Several other witnesses, including Parr's girlfriend at the time, said Parr had told them he killed Dominguez.
"It probably was somebody who borrowed his body that's on that video," Russ Hunt Sr., one of Parr's trial lawyers, said facetiously.
Hunt said the prosecution's case against Parr was strong. The defense team focused on trying to save Parr's life by showing jurors he had an abusive childhood and grew up in a "hellacious environment," the lawyer said.
"We did our best for him," Hunt said. "He really did have a terrible life. ... The state had all the evidence. That makes our job a little harder."
Parr, from prison, described himself as a third-grade dropout who "grew up on the streets since I was 9." He said he had fathered five children.
Prior to the killing, Parr had several drug convictions, including one for three counts of delivering cocaine, for which he was placed on probation. He was also linked to, but not charged in, a fatal drive-by shooting, another shooting and an assault.
Parr recently told McLennan County authorities he had killed 16 people and offered to lead them to the remains of at least two of his victims if they would dismiss a robbery case against his nephew. But the Waco Tribune-Herald last week reported that investigators didn't find Parr's claims credible.
Next week, Jeffrey Williams, 37, is set to die for the 1999 slaying of a Houston police officer who had pulled him over for driving a stolen car.