Former gang member executed for murder

Jan. 28, 2003 at 9:57 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A former gang member and drug dealer was executed Tuesday night for the murder of an Austin store clerk during a 1991 robbery.

Alva Curry, 33, was pronounced dead at 8:09 p.m. CST after receiving a lethal injection for killing 20-year-old David Vela. The holdup netted $220 for Curry and an accomplice but was captured on videotape.

The execution was delayed for nearly two hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered two last-minute petitions for stays but they were rejected.

In his final statement, Curry expressed remorse to the victim's family.

"I pray with the help of God that you will forgive me for the pain I caused your family," he said. "I am truly sorry. I wish I could take it back but I just pray and ask that you forgive me."

In the pre-dawn hours of Oct. 16, 1991, Curry and Mark Davis entered the store armed with guns. Curry jumped over the counter and shot the clerk in the head. The pair grabbed the cash drawer and fired four more bullets into Vela as they fled.

Curry was arrested Nov. 8 on information provided by a informant. A search of his home produced clothing that the two robbers wore during the holdup, one of the murder weapons, and the store's missing cash drawer. Curry confessed to police.

Curry, who became a Christian in prison, told the Austin American-Statesman in an interview this week that he was ready to accept the death sentence.

"I believe I deserve to die," he said. "They say you reap what you sow. When you live a life -- especially out on the streets -- you have a certain mentality that if someone wrongs you, then that person pays with their life."

Curry was also serving a life sentence for the murder of Brendon Proske, 23, in another convenience store robbery in Austin seven days later.

Davis is serving a life sentence for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

Curry was fourth convicted killer executed this year in Texas and the 293rd since the state restored the death penalty in 1982. Two more executions are scheduled Wednesday and Thursday.

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