HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Stephen Peter Morin, a Christian convert three times condemned for murdering young women, accepted his death sentence without resistance and was executed early Wednesday, ending his life with a prayer.
Morin, 34, was pronounced dead at 12:55 a.m. CST, after medics spent nearly an hour trying to find a vein to accept the tube carrying a lethal cocktail of drugs.
Morin was executed for the Dec. 11, 1981, shooting death of Carrie Marie Scott, 21, outside a San Antonio restaurant.
He was also under death sentences for the Dec. 3, 1981, slaying of Janna Bruce, 21, in Corpus Christi, Texas, and for the November 1981 killing of Denver waitress Sheila Ann Whalen, 23.
Morin was strapped to a gurney at 12:03 a.m. CST, offering no resistance. Medics, who said his veins were 'shot' by drug use, probed for a vein until 12:44 a.m. CST, when a saline solution was injected into his arm, said Texas Department of Corrections spokesman Charles Brown.
Morin's final statement was a prayer for forgiveness.
'Father forgive these people,' he said, 'for they know not what they do. Forgive them as you have forgiven me and I have forgiven them.'
His last words were: 'Lord Jesus, I commit my soul to you.'
Morin then blew a kiss to a woman witness. As the poison flowed into his veins, Morin drew one deep breath, his last.
State District Judge David Berchelmann in San Antonio and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin had earlier denied motions by Gerald Goldstein, general counsel for the Texas Civil Liberties Union, to stay the execution.
Morin is the 40th convict executed in the United States and the sixth in Texas since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on capital punishment in 1976.
Morin, who began a fast out of religious motivation Tuesday, requested bread without yeast for his last meal.
The former cocaine addict and drifter from Providence, R.I., said he was converted to Christianity by his last kidnap victim who played tapes by the Rev. Kenneth Copeland, a Texas evangelist.
Morin had asked that no appeals be made to stop his death but Goldstein questioned his mental competence.
'I am not asking for a stay. If one is granted, I will take it,' prison spokesman Phil Guthrie told Goldstein Tuesday night.
On a 36-minute trip Tuesday morning from death row to the downtown Huntsville prison where the execution chamber is located, Morin 'appeared to be in good spirits,' Guthrie said.
'At one point he jokingly asked the group if they'd like to stop and go fishing,' Guthrie said.
Prison Warden Jack Pursley quoted Morin as saying his fate was 'in the hands of the Lord.'
Morin claimed he was converted to Christianity by kidnap victim Margaret Mayfield Palm. She testified that after Morin abducted her at gunpoint to escape police hunting him for Scott's murder, they drove around for 10 hours reading from her handwritten journal of Bible verses and listening to tapes by Copeland.
Morin was arrested at bus station after he freed Palm and she told police he planned to take a bus to Fort Worth to surrender to Copeland, an evangelist the prisoner asked to witness the execution.
Morin was on the FBI's 10 most wanted list when he was arrested. A federal fugitive warrant charged him with the 1976 kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old San Francisco girl. He also was a suspect in several rapes, abductions and murders of young women in Las Vegas, Utah, Indiana, California and New York.