A Texas man who challenged the evidence used to convict him of killing an elderly woman in a carjacking a decade ago was killed by lethal injection on Tuesday.
Jedidiah Murphy, 48, was pronounced dead after an injection at the state prison in Huntsville following the fatal shooting of 80-year-old Bertie Lee Cunningham during a carjacking in October 2000.
“To the victim’s family, I sincerely apologize for everything.” “I hope this gives you some closure if possible,” Murphy said as he was strapped to a stretcher in the death chamber in Texas.
Murphy then began reciting Psalm 34 and said, “The Lord saves the souls of his servants, and none of those who trust in him will be condemned.”
He then told the supervisor he was ready as he turned to a friend watching through a window and said, “God bless you all.” It’s OK. “Tell my babies I love them.”
Jedidiah Murphy, 48, received a lethal injection Tuesday at the state prison in Huntsville for the October 2000 fatal shooting of 80-year-old Bertie Lee Cunningham during a carjacking
Murphy was convicted of capital murder in June 2001 after killing 80-year-old Bertie Lee Cunningham during a carjacking. He was given a lethal injection at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, on Tuesday (pictured).
Murphy and his lawyers defied the U.S. Supreme Court when they called for a DNA test of evidence from two robberies and a kidnapping that prosecutors also linked to him. He also argued that the deadly drugs were exposed to the extreme heat of a recent prison fire
Just before the lethal dose of pentobarbital took effect, Murphy said: “Bella is my wife!”
As he took his final breaths, a priest stood over him and placed his hand on Murphy’s heart before a doctor arrived 20 minutes later at 10.15pm and pronounced him dead.
His execution came shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an order that had delayed the execution of the death sentence.
The Supreme Court also late Tuesday rejected another request to stay Murphy’s execution over allegations that the drugs he was injected involved exposure to extreme heat and smoke a fire that took place on August 25th.
He argued that the fire made the deadly drugs unsafe and would put him at risk of pain and suffering.
Murphy also attempted to challenge the evidence presented against him in Cunningham’s gruesome murder, but the Attorney General’s Office appealed the 5th Circuit’s decision and ruled in favor of Texas.
His lawyers filed a lawsuit demanding DNA testing of evidence presented at his 2001 trial and questioned evidence of two robberies and a kidnapping used by prosecutors to convince jurors during the penalty phase of his trial to convince.
The evidence concluded that Murphy posed a future danger – a legal finding required to obtain a death sentence in Texas.
Although Murphy admitted killing the elderly woman in 2000, he denied committing the robberies or kidnappings.
His attorney argued that prosecutors made these crimes against Murphy because it was the strongest evidence they had to prove he posed a continuing threat.
They also said it was “problematic” to link him to those crimes because they included a questionable identification of Murphy by one of the victims.
Prosecutors said Murphy’s request for a stay was “manipulative” and should have been granted years ago.
They argued against the DNA testing, saying Texas state law only allows for the review of post-conviction evidence that relates to guilt or innocence, not a defendant’s verdict.
“An inmate who waits until the eleventh hour to assert long-standing claims should not complain that he needs more time to pursue those claims in court,” the attorney general’s office said.
On October 4, 2000, Cunningham left her home to go shopping at Collin Creek Mall around 3 p.m., and when she still did not return by 8 p.m., her sister, Evelyn Shelton, reported her missing.
“They wondered if maybe she had just wandered off.” But that’s not who she is. She is very sharp, very active and sociable. “She’s a very young 80,” Shelton said at the time.
According to court documents, Murphy approached Cunningham and forced her to take him away at gunpoint. About 30 minutes later, he pushed her into the trunk of her car and shot her in the head.
He then dumped her body in a nearby stream and used her credit card to buy cigarettes and alcohol.
Murphy admitted to shooting the elderly woman during his arrest and soon led police to her deceased body.
Murphy never denied murdering Cunningham, but said in an 11-page written testimony that he kept losing consciousness and couldn’t remember leaving the house that night
A post on Facebook detailed the denial document after prosecutors said Murphy’s request for a stay was “manipulative” and that it should have been granted years ago (pictured).
DailyMail.com contacted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and revealed that inmates are not allowed to request their last meal, but can instead choose from a list of options on the menu for that day
The Dallas Morning News reported that Cunningham’s family wrote a statement publicly thanking the community for its support of the “kind, loving Christian.”
In June 2001, Murphy was convicted of murder.
He never denied killing Cunningham, but said in an 11-page written testimony that he kept losing consciousness and couldn’t remember leaving the house that night.
He admitted he attacked the 80-year-old woman “for no reason at all.”
DailyMail.com contacted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and revealed that inmates are not allowed to request their last meal, but can instead choose from a list of options on the menu for that day.
Murphy’s final meals included baked chicken, pinto beans, cheesy rice vegetable mix, corn, peaches, sliced bread, cheeseburgers, green beans, baked potatoes, mustard and pickles.
It is unclear which of Cunningham’s family members were present at Murphy’s execution and which of his friends were also present.