June 18, 2015 / 11:06 AM / 2 years ago

Texas to execute man for bludgeoning mechanic to death in robbery

Gregory Russeau, 45, is seen in an undated picture from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, Texas. Russeau is scheduled to be executed on June 18 for the killing a 75-year-old auto mechanic in a 2001 robbery.Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas is set on Thursday to execute Gregory Russeau, 45, who was convicted of killing a 75-year-old auto mechanic in a 2001 robbery and driving off from the crime scene in the victim's car.

Texas plans to put Russeau to death by lethal injection at its death chamber in Huntsville at 6 p.m. CDT. There were no court petitions to halt the execution filed as of Wednesday afternoon, according to online records.

If the execution goes ahead, it would be the 527th in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Since then, Texas has accounted for 37 percent of all executions in the United States.

Russeau was convicted of bludgeoning James Syvertson to death with a hammer at Syvertson's automobile repair garage in Tyler, about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Dallas.

Police apprehended Russeau, who was on parole at the time, while he was driving a car that belonged to Syvertson. Investigators found Russeau's fingerprints at the crime scene and DNA evidence that linked him to the murder, the Texas attorney general's office said.

A previous death sentence for Russeau was overturned on appeal in 2005 when a court ruled his right to confront witnesses at trial had been violated. A jury in 2007 resentenced him to death.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler

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