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Texas executes Escamilla for 2001 officer slaying

By Tomas Monzon
Licho Escamilla was executed on Oct. 14, 2015 for 2001 killing of Dallas police officer Kevin James. Photo courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Licho Escamilla was executed on Oct. 14, 2015 for 2001 killing of Dallas police officer Kevin James. Photo courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Texas death row inmate Licho Escamilla, 33, was executed for the 2001 killing of Dallas police officer Kevin James.

Escamilla was pronounced dead at 6:31 p.m. local time Wednesday after officials administered a lethal dose of pentobarbital. Before dying, Escamilla thanked his friends and family and said "The state of Texas refused to listen to God's children ... Let everyone know that it's not over."

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On Nov. 25, 2001, Escamilla, then-19, was at the parking lot of a nightclub in Dallas, where James and other officers were working the security detail. A fight broke out and Escamilla, who was wanted for another murder investigation, fired rounds apparently randomly.

James was shot twice and disabled. He later died after Escamilla walked up to the officer and shot him three times in the head.

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Escamilla was tried in 2002, during which time he acted belligerently in the courtroom by throwing a pitcher of water at the jury upon receiving his death sentence. Officials used a shock belt to rein him in.

Howard Blackmon, a prosecutor at Escamilla's trial and now in private practice, told WFAA in Dallas that officials found various items on Escamilla during the trial including nails and screws, with no idea as to how he had acquired them.

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James' family issued a statement read by Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse, a close friend of the fallen officer, saying "justice was served." James' daughter, brother-in-law and son-in-law witnessed the execution alongside Janse and Dallas police Senior Cpl. Scott Sayers.

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James' widow Lori was also present but did not see the execution.

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