Texas executes killer carjacker
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- Convicted killer Willie Shannon was executed by lethal injection Wednesday night for the carjack-slaying of a man who was on vacation with his family in Houston more than 14 years ago.
Shannon spoke directly to the widow, two children and brother of his victim, Benjamin Garza, and acknowledged that he "took a father."
"It wasn't my fault. It was an accident," he said of the shooting.
Shannon, 33, smiled and hummed as witnesses filed into the death chamber, and said he was going to heaven. He said if he saw his victim, he would ask Garza for forgiveness: "I'll say when I see him, 'I'm sorry."'
He urged the relatives of his victim to "go home, have fun, smile. I'm happy. Why should I lie now. I have no anger. I have no fear."
Ten minutes later at 6:24 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
Garza, 38, was trying to catch a catnap in a parking lot July 19, 1992, while his wife and three kids were shopping nearby for some shoes when Shannon jumped inside, pulled his gun and demanded the family's 15-year-old Ford wagon.
Shannon has said that his gun went off as the two men struggled in a parking lot when Garza refused to surrender his station wagon.
Garza had been living under a new identity in the federal Witness Protection Program for a decade after testifying at drug trials in the Rio Grande Valley. Shannon has said he thought Garza believed he was there to kill him, and started fighting for his life.
"I was just unlucky. And he was unlucky, too," he testified. (CNN)
No, Sir. You brought a loaded and UN-locked weapon with you, you premeditated the carjacking, you chose to struggle with the man that you chose to carjack, and you shot him. That's not unlucky, that's murder. Take some effing responsibility for your actions. Don't tell his family it wasn't your fault and that you're happy, you jackass!