Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Texas carried out the nation's first execution of the year Wednesday, that of Robert Jennings who was on death row for murdering a Houston police officer in 1988.
Jennings, 61, was convicted in 1989 for killing officer Elston Howard as he was arresting a clerk at an adult book store. Jennings was attempting to rob the store, but instead shot Howard multiple times.
Officials administered a lethal injection at 6:15 p.m., and Jennings died 18 minutes later. His final words were that it was "a nice journey."
"To the family of the police officer, I hope this finds you peace," he said, according to the Texas Tribune. "... Enjoy life's moments because we never get them back."
On Wednesday afternoon, Jennings' lawyers filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. They argued in an appeal cited in The Houston Chronicle that he had "an improbable succession of bad lawyering" and that he deserves a stay because of his low IQ and he has exhibited remorse.
The appeal also said that at the time of Jennings' sentence, juries were not told they had the option of sentencing him to life in prison if they believed he deserved mercy based on his character or background.