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Jeffrey Allen Barney, who said he deserved to die...

By PAULA DITTRICK

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Jeffrey Allen Barney, who said he deserved to die for the rape and murder of a minister's wife, was executed by injection early Wednesday.

Barney, 28, who dismissed his attorney and rejected appeals of his conviction, was pronounced dead at 1:22 a.m. EST, authorities said.

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'I'm sorry for what I done, and I deserve it, and I hope Jesus forgives me,' Barney said as he lay on the gurney just before he was executed.

One tear rolled down his cheek, but he smiled and said to the Rev. Freddie Wier, his only witness, 'May God bless you, Freddie.'

'May God bless you, son,' the Harris County Jail chaplain responded.

'I'm tingling all over,' Barney said after the deadly solution had begun to seep into his veins. He jerked, let out what sounded like a snore, then lay still.

'He was very calm, cheerful, nearly joking with the chaplain and other people as he was prepared,' said Attorney General Jim Mattox, who witnessed the execution. 'He seemed resolved to what was taking place and even very glad it was taking place.'

He was the 12th inmate in Texas and the 55th in the nation to be executed since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. A Florida inmate, Daniel Morris Thomas, was executed at 12:19 p.m. EST Tuesday.

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Barney, described as 'calm and in a good mood,' had awaited his execution in a cell near the execution chamber, eating a final meal of frosted flakes, visiting with Wier and playing dominoes with a prison officer. Wier was Barney's only witness.

Barney, a native of Dayton, Ohio, requested sausage pizza and milk for lunch and asked for two boxes of breakfast cereal and a pint of milk for his final meal.

Barney, who admitted the brutality of his crime, fired his lawyer and refused to authorize any appeals. His conviction and death sentence were upheld during a state appeal guaranteed by law.

He was convicted of killing Ruby Mae Longsworth, 54, in her Pasadena, Texas, home Nov. 24, 1981, while her husband was attending a ministers' convention.

'I don't want to live the rest of my life in prison,' Barney told reporters earlier this year, adding he deserved to die and was willing to administer the lethal injection himself.

'If someone had done that to my mother, (execution) wouldn't have been enough punishment,' Barney said. 'It's been too easy for me. I just sit there in my cell every day. I'm a loner. That's the way I prefer it.'

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Houston lawyer Mary Moore offered to appeal on Barney's behalf, but he refused her efforts and a Houston judge granted Barney's request to have her removed from the case.

About 30 students from nearby Sam Houston State University who favor the death penalty gathered, drinking and giggling, at an outdoor death watch party about a block from the death chamber.

'We're for it until they come up withsomething better,' one said of capital punishment.

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