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Texas executes killer of 10-year-old girl

HUNTSVILLE, Texas, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A Texas death row inmate was executed Tuesday for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl who strayed from her parents at a flea market to buy a bag of peanuts.

James Rexford Powell, 56, was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. CDT after receiving a lethal injection for the 1990 murder of Falyssa Van Winkle, an honor student at Lake Charles, La.

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In his final statement, Powell said: "I am ready for the final blessing."

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Powell's stay request and a request for review of his case. Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg indicated they were in favor of the stay.

Falyssa was with her parents at an antique and flea market in Beaumont in southeast Texas on Oct. 6, 1990, when she walked away to buy the peanuts. That was the last time her parents ever saw her.

Her body was found later that day face down under a bridge on a county road near the Louisiana border. A rope was wrapped around her neck, with another around her wrists. She had been strangled, an autopsy later determined.

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Police were led to Powell because several witnesses reported seeing his white motor home near the bridge. The next day a neighbor of Powell also saw him washing the inside, outside and underside of the vehicle.

Despite the cleaning, police found white dog hairs that matched a similar hair found on the girl's body. They also found several hairs that matched the hair of the victim. DNA tests also linked the suspect to the girl's blood.

Powell was the 29th convicted killer executed this week in Texas and the 285th since the state restored the death penalty in 1982.

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