A Texas inmate who was executed for murdering a newlywed during a 1993 robbery apologized to his victim’s widow, whom he raped after fatally shooting her husband.
Doug and Lora White had only been married 10 days when, on Sept. 21, 1993, Alvin Braziel Jr. jumped out from behind a bush and demanded money as they walked along a path at Eastfield College in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite.
The pair didn’t have any money on them, but told Braziel they could get him some, and they began walking back to the Whites’ truck. Braziel, who was armed with a gun, became angry and ordered them to the ground, officials said.
“Doug … was praying, asked God to forgive him and Lora their sins because they both knew that this was it,” said Michael Bradshaw, Mesquite police’s lead detective on the case, according to The Associated Press. “The last thing Doug said before Braziel fired the first round, he said, ‘Please God, don’t let him hurt Lora.’”
Braziel shot Doug, 27, once in the head and once in his heart. Then Braziel’s gun malfunctioned, leaving him unable to shoot Lora, 23, as well. Instead, he dragged her into the bushy area near the trail and raped her.
Braziel fled, but was charged in the crimes in 2001, after his blood samples were tested against samples taken from Lora’s rape kit. The two samples were a match, and Lora also identified Braziel in a photo lineup, the AP wrote. At the time, Braziel was serving a five-year sentence after being convicted in 1996 of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
Braziel was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death on July 26, 2001. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the decision in October 2003 and in 2009, when it denied Braziel’s application for a writ of habeas corpus.
Though Braziel’s attorneys challenged the district court’s decision in several filings throughout the years, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously decided Friday not to recommend a 120-reprieve and commutation.
Braziel, now 43, on Tuesday received lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. Before being executed, Braziel thanked supporters and apologized to Lora White.
“I would like to apologize … for her husband dying at my hands,” Braziel reportedly said. He also said he loved the White family and a person he named, but who was not present, the AP wrote. He then told the warden he was finished.
He was given the sedative pentobarbital at 7:10 p.m. He gasped and then snored loudly three times, the AP reported. A fourth snore was noticeably less pronounced and then all movement stopped. He was pronounced dead at 7:19 p.m.
Braziel was the 24th inmate to be put to death this year in the U.S. and the 13th put to death in Texas. He will be the last inmate to be executed in 2018.
Doug’s brother and two friends were reportedly present for the execution. Lora has since started a new life and is doing well, Bradshaw told the AP. He retired in 2002 after the case was solved and has stayed in touch with Lora.
“Lora wants it known that she's prayed for Alvin Braziel and his family," Bradshaw said.