September 6, 2007 / 12:36 AM / in 12 years

Texas executes man for 1998 murder

DALLAS (Reuters) - Texas executed a convicted killer by lethal injection on Wednesday for the 1998 murder of a woman whose body he sexually molested after he strangled her to death.

The execution of Tony Roach, 30, was the first of five scheduled for this month in America’s most prolific death penalty state.

Roach was condemned to die for the brutal murder of Ronnie Dawn Hewitt in June 1998 while he was breaking into her apartment in Amarillo, Texas.

He admitted to strangling Hewitt with a belt then having sex with her body. He also stole some items and set the apartment on fire.

In Roach’s last statement he said: “I cannot agree with this injustice. The Bible says that you shall not kill, but it also says to obey the government. I am sorry, forgive me.”

Roach was the 24th inmate executed in Texas so far this year, which equals the state’s tally for all of 2006.

Since Texas resumed executions in 1982, 403 people including Roach have been put to death in the state. Virginia trails Texas with 98 executions.

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