HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A man convicted of shooting and killing a Houston police officer in 1988 during a failed robbery at an adult bookstore was executed Wednesday, officials said.
The convicted murderer, Robert Jennings, 61, was pronounced dead at 6:33 p.m., 18 minutes after receiving a lethal injection and some 30 years after fatally shooting 24-year-old Officer Elston Howard, reported FOX News.
In a final statement to his family and friends, Jennings said, “It was a nice journey.”
Jennings, a convicted robber, was on parole for nearly two months when prosecutors say he entered Mr. Peeper’s Bookstore with the intention of committing another robbery; 12 days after previously hitting the same business.
However, what was unknown to the thief was that Officer Howard was in the process of arresting the store clerk on charges of operating a pornographic video arcade without a permit.
Jennings shot Howard twice in the head. As a result, the wounded officer staggered for a few feet before falling to the ground. The armed bandit wasn’t finished. He put to more bullets in Jennings after he hit the ground.
The clerk later testified that the shooting happened so fast; Howard never had a chance to draw his weapon.
As fate would have it, Jennings was arrested hours later after going to a hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound. The investigation revealed his accomplice shot him in the hand after becoming angry that Jennings had shot the officer.
Attorneys for Jennings had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay his execution. They argued that Jennings’ trial attorneys failed to ask jurors to fully consider evidence—including details of his remorse for the officer’s shooting and possible brain damage. They hoped these mitigating factors would spare him a death sentence.
When he was arrested, Jennings confessed to the murder and told police he was remorseful about the killing, saying he would “face whatever punishment (he had) coming.”
Jennings received an execution stay in 2016. But the high court and lower appeals courts rejected his request to delay Wednesday’s execution and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down Jennings’ request to commute his sentence.
As a part of Jennings final statement, he shared his thoughts for Howard’s family.
“To the family of the police officer, I hope y’all find peace. Be well and be safe and try to enjoy life’s moments, because we never get those back.”