A Texas man who unsuccessfully challenged the safety of lethal injection drugs and raised questions about evidence used to persuade a jury to sentence him to death for killing an elderly woman decades ago was executed Tuesday. Jedidiah Murphy, 48, was pronounced dead after an injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the October 2000 fatal shooting of Bertie Lee Cunningham, 80, of the Dallas suburb of Garland. Cunningham was killed during a carjacking, the Associated Press reports. “To the family of the victim, I sincerely apologize for all of it,” Murphy said while strapped to a gurney in the Texas death chamber and after a Christian pastor prayed for the victim’s family, Murphy’s family and friends and the inmate.
He then began a lengthy recitation of Psalm 34, ending with: “The Lord redeems the soul of his servants, and none of those who trust in him shall be condemned.” After telling the warden he was ready, Murphy turned his head toward a friend watching through a window, telling her, “God bless all of y’all. It’s OK. Tell my babies I love them.” The execution took place hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an order that had delayed the death sentence from being carried out. The high court turned down another request to stay Murphy’s execution over claims the drugs he was injected with were exposed to extreme heat and smoke during a recent fire, making them unsafe and leaving him at risk of pain and suffering.