A Texas man who was already being sought after a neighbor’s slaying killed a Dallas police officer who was trying to break up a brawl in 2001. According to an AP report, Licho Escamilla was given a lethal injection for the death of officer Christopher Kevin James, and was pronounced dead at 6:31 CDT.
Escamilla was the 24th person to be executed by the United States this year. Texas was responsible for 12 of these executions.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Escamilla’s case last week, and no additional appeals were made as the date of his execution approached. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles declined a reprieve and clemency on Monday.
James was working with three other uniformed officers while off-duty at the time of the brawl. Escamilla brandished a gun and fired at the officers as they attempted to stop the fight.
Escamilla’s 9mm semi-automatic pistol hit James twice, knocking him to the ground. Escamilla approached the downed officer and fired three shots into the back of his head before fleeing while shooting at the other officers. A second officer was wounded in the shootout, but survived.
Escamilla was 19 at the time of the shooting, and was arrested while trying to steal a nearby truck. His attorneys argued that the death penalty was not warranted because at the time of the killing James was off-duty, meaning that the crime was not a capital murder.
The jury didn’t agree, and Escamilla received the harshest penalty known to man.