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Texas executes man convicted of drowning woman, dumping body

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Wednesday put to death a man convicted of drowning a woman in a bathtub 20 years ago and dumping her cement-encased body in a remote area, in the first of its two planned executions this week.

Death row inmate Troy Clark appears in a booking photo obtained from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Huntsville, Texas, U.S., September 25, 2018. Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Handout via REUTERS

Troy Clark, 51, was executed by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. On Thursday, Texas plans to execute Daniel Acker, 46, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a woman in 2000.

Both men have maintained they are innocent.

Clark’s execution was the 17th in the United States this year and the ninth in Texas, which has put more prisoners to death than any state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

Clark was convicted of killing Christina Muse in 1998. Clark lived with his then-girlfriend, Tory Bush, and the two used and sold methamphetamine, according to documents filed in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In his last statement, Clark denied that he killed Muse.

“It’s all good. I’m not the one that killed Christina, so whatever makes y’all happy. I love y’all. I’ll see you on the other side,” he was quoted as saying in his last statement by the department of criminal justice.

Muse lived with the pair for a short period of time and when she moved out, the two thought she might report their illicit activities to law enforcement. They conspired to attack her when she returned for a visit to the residence, the records said.

Muse was tortured with a stun gun, bound with duct tape and tossed in a closet for several hours. She was then taken to a bathtub, beaten with a board and drowned, the records showed.

Muse’s body was placed in a barrel filled with lime and cement, according to the records. Her body was found about four months later by police, with the help of Bush, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Clark has said he did not take part in the killing and has blamed others for the murder.

Bush, who could have faced the death penalty, testified against Clark, and said he was the mastermind in the plot. In return, she received a sentence of 20 years in prison for her part in the murder, news reports said.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Peter Cooney and Sandra Maler