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State executes Elroy Chester
HUNTSVILLE - The State of Texas has executed Elroy Chester.
He was executed at 7:04 p.m. Wednesday in Huntsville, according to a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
KFDM News reporter Tom Wright will have reaction from Huntsville at 10.
The 44-year-old Chester was executed for the February 1998 shooting death of a Port Arthur firefighter. Willie Ryman III is one of five people Chester confessed to killing in about a six month period from 1997 until early 1998. Ryman was trying to prevent Chester from raping Ryman's nieces at their Port Arthur home. Ryman often checked on his nieces when their mother was away and he'd gone to check on them when he walked in and Chester contronted him and shot him.
Chester pleaded guilty to the crime and it took a Jefferson County jury only 12 minutes to decide he should die for killing Ryman.
Relatives of Ryman, as well a number of Port Arthur firefighters and police officers, including Chief Mark Blanton, traveled to Huntsville for the execution.
Shortly after 6 p.m. the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from attorneys for Elroy Chester to delay Wednesday night's scheduled execution.
Earlier Wednesday KFDM News learned a three judge panel on the Fifth Circuit Court denied the convicted killer's request for a stay of execution.
The Fifth Circuit Court panel denied the stay at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to information provided to KFDM News by Monica Washington with the Fifth Circuit.
Attorneys for the 44-year-old Chester convinced a three-judge panel at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to move his case Tuesday to a new panel.
They argued that a judge who ruled earlier in his case, Edith Jones, showed her bias against Chester when she talked about his case at a law school. Chester's lawyers say during a lecture the judge delivered earlier this year she commented that African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime and defendants facing capital punishment who claim mental retardation disgust her.
Jones was in a 2-1 majority in 2011 that determined Chester wasn't mentally impaired and was therefore eligible for execution.