Condemned Texas Killer Put To Death

Thursday, September 28th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Time finally ran out for convicted killer Ricky McGinn.

McGinn, 43, who avoided the Texas death chamber twice earlier this year — first because of a tornado and a second time when Gov. George W. Bush stepped in with a reprieve — was executed by lethal injection Wednesday for raping and fatally beating his 12-year-old stepdaughter.

``I saw him take his last breath and I know he's gone and can't hurt anybody,'' said Moszell Ham, whose granddaughter's death was tied to McGinn. ``That's why I came.''

McGinn smiled at his sobbing mother and siblings watching through a window a few feet away, then closed his eyes, sputtered and uttered a slight groan. Eight minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

``I don't want nobody to be mad at nobody,'' he said in a brief final statement while strapped to the death house gurney, needles in each arm. ``I don't want nobody to be bitter. Keep clean hearts and I will see y'all on the other side.''

McGinn insisted he was innocent of the 1993 killing of Stephanie Flanary and said additional DNA tests on hair and semen evidence would prove his case.

An execution date set for earlier this year was postponed after some of his paperwork was lost when a tornado struck his attorney's Fort Worth office. Only minutes from his second execution date on June 1, McGinn won a 30-day reprieve from Bush so new tests could be conducted.

The reprieve marked his first use of a Texas governor's authority to halt an execution for 30 days. The action, in the midst of Bush's bid to secure the Republican presidential nomination, was viewed as an example of compassionate conservatism, a favorite theme of his campaign.

But McGinn's execution was reset for Wednesday when DNA test results disclosed last month confirmed his guilt.

The former mechanic and carpenter became the 33rd convicted killer to receive lethal injection this year in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state. At least seven other Texas inmates are set to die in 2000, including one next week.

Janet Roberts, McGinn's wife at the time, had left her daughter in his care on May 22, 1993, while she left for the day. McGinn said the girl got sick after they drank beer together and dozed off, then went for a walk after waking up.

She never returned.

The new DNA tests vindicated Brown County authorities who said McGinn raped and killed his stepdaughter with an ax, before dumping her body in a culvert. It was found three days later.

``He will not breathe our air any more,'' Roberts said.

``I hate the word closure. I despise that word. There's never going to be any closure,'' said Ham. ``But there's satisfaction. I am really satisfied he can't get out and kill any more little girls.


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