By JUAN A. LOZANO and MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas death row inmate was executed Tuesday for fatally shooting a 61-year-old grandmother at her North Texas home nearly a decade ago during an eight-day spate of crimes that included thefts and another killing.
Mark Anthony Soliz, 37, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the June 2010 slaying of Nancy Weatherly during a robbery at her rural home near Godley, located 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Fort Worth.
Soliz was the 15th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. It was the sixth execution in Texas and the second in as many weeks in the state. Nine more executions are scheduled this year in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state.
During a five-minute final statement, Soliz apologized profusely from the death chamber gurney.
“I don’t know if me passing will bring y’all comfort for the pain and suffering I caused y’all,” he said, looking at his victim’s son and daughter-in-law, who watched through a window a few feet from him. “I am at peace. I understand the pain that I caused y’all.”
He said he made wrong decisions but forgave himself and was “going with a humble heart.” He added that he didn’t know if members of Weatherly’s family would attend the execution, but that he was pleased they did.
“I’m just glad I got a chance to talk to y’all,” he said.
Soliz thanked his supporters and told the warden he was ready. As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began, he again turned his head toward Weatherly’s relatives.
“I hope y’all forgive me,” he said.
He gasped, snorted and appeared to go to sleep. All movement stopped. Eighteen minutes later — at 6:32 p.m. CDT — he was pronounced dead.
His victim’s family members declined comment afterward.
State and federal appeals courts and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down requests by Soliz’s attorneys to stop the execution, with the most recent denial coming on Monday. His lawyers filed no other appeals, including to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Tuesday.