March 14 (UPI) -- The state of Texas on Tuesday executed James Eugene Bigby, who was convicted of murdering his friend and the man's four-month-old son in a Fort Worth area killing spree nearly 30 years ago -- its second lethal injection in less than a week.
Bigby was convicted in 1991 of shooting friend Michael Trekell, 26, while they were watching television and making dinner in Arlington on Christmas Eve 1987. That evening, Bigby also drowned Trekell's 4-month-old son, Jayson, in a sink after efforts to suffocate the child failed.
Bigby, 61, who has a history of schizophrenia, was also accused of killing Calvin Crane and Frank Johnson hours later. He was arrested two days later following a standoff with a SWAT team at a nearby motel.
Officials said Bigby, who has exhausted all of his appeals, struggled to control his emotions Tuesday as he was moved to a small cell near the death chamber.
Grace Kehler, Jayson's mother, told police she knew Bigby had been hospitalized for mental illness multiple times and that he had said he wanted to go out in a "blaze of glory," court documents show.
Bigby, a former auto mechanic, told police he killed the men because he thought they were conspiring with his employer to undermine a worker's compensation case he filed. He said he didn't have an explanation for killing the infant.
Tuesday's execution date was Bigby's first despite being on death row for more than a quarter-century.
"I believe that [Bigby] is resigned to the fact that he's going to be executed, and I think he wants it over with," Stickels told The Texas Tribune.
At trial, Bigby's insanity defense was rejected and he was ultimately sentenced to death by two different juries, even after consideration of his mental illness.
Texas law allows for mentally ill convicts to be put to death. Such illness can be presented at trial as mitigating evidence, but it is up to the jury to determine whether it's sufficient to downgrade a death sentence to life imprisonment.