After 30 Years On Death Row, Prisoner Executed By Texas

After 30 Years On Death Row, Prisoner Executed By Texas
Walls Unit, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville 1405011217bw Patrick Feller / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Lester Bower Jr., the oldest prisoner in Texas who said he was wrongfully convicted of killing four men more than thirty years ago, was executed by the state on Wednesday. He was given a lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville, and was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT.


Texas, being the most active death penalty state, has executed 526 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Bower, a former chemical salesman and father of two, was the longest serving prisoner.

According to The Huffington Post, the department said that Bower’s last words were, “Much has been written about this case. Not all of it the truth. But the time is over and now it is time to move on. I want to thank my attorneys for all that they have done. They have afforded me the last quarter of a century. I would like to thank my wife, daughters, family and friends for unwavering support. And all of the letters and well wishes over the years. Now it is time to pass on. I have fought the good fight. I held the faith. I am not going to say goodbye, I will simply say until meet again. I love you very, very much. Thank you Warden.”

Although three justices – Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor – said in March that they would repeal Bower’s death sentence, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the case. Three hours before the execution, the apex court denied Bower’s renewed late appeal.

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Bower, from Arlington, was taken into custody for killing four men on Oct 8, 1983, as reported by Al Jazeera.

The victims were building contractor and B&B Ranch owner Bob Tate, 51; Grayson County Sheriff’s Deputy Philip Good, 29; Jerry Bower, a Sherman interior designer, 52; and former Sherman police officer Ronald Mayes, 39. According to Yahoo News, Bower murdered the four men over a deal for a $4,000 ultra-light airplane.

Prosecutors claimed that Bower killed Tate to steal the airplane. The remaining three were killed when they arrived unexpectedly at the hangar. The accusations were confirmed by parts of the same airplane that were found in Bower’s house and the calls he had made to Tate.

A weapon and ammunition similar to the one used in the incident were retrieved from Bower’s residence.

Two weeks ago before his execution, Bower said, “I do have remorse. I’m remorseful for putting my family and my wife and my friends through this.

“If this is going to bring some closure to them (the victim’s family), then good. But if they think by this they’re executing the person that killed their loved one, then that’s going to come up a little bit short.”

Bower, who had never had a criminal record before his arrest, expressed that taking him into custody was wrongful.

In an interview published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he said, “What’s more, I feel we have had a reasonable number of people come forward with credible stories to say I did not commit these murders.”

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