Texas set to execute man who murdered girlfriend

Reuters News

10/31/2012 10:18:06 AM - Reuters News

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A man convicted of fatally shooting his live-in girlfriend in 2003 after she refused to give him money is scheduled to be executed in Texas on Wednesday.

Donnie Lee Roberts, 41, would be the 35th person executed in the United States this year and the 12th in Texas. The execution by lethal injection is scheduled for after 6 p.m. in Huntsville.

When dental assistant Vicki Bowen, 44, didn't show up for work in October 2003, a co-worker became concerned and found Bowen dead in her East Texas house, according to an account of the case from the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Roberts, a crack cocaine user, confessed to officials that he killed Bowen when she refused to give him money, the account said.

"I pointed the gun at her and I said, ‘if you'd just give me some money.' And she said ‘No,'" Roberts told officials, according to the attorney general's account. "And then I said, ‘Look, it doesn't have to be this way.' That's all I remember saying to her. And the next thing I know, I shot her."

Roberts told a different story at trial in 2004, saying that he picked up the gun because it was out of place, and that he saw what looked like another gun in Bowen's pocket.

Former probation and parole officers testified that Roberts, who had been convicted of armed robbery in Louisiana, fled supervision just months before Bowen's murder, the attorney general's account said.

During the punishment phase of his trial, jurors learned that Roberts had confessed to the 1992 murder of a man in Louisiana, the account said. He did not stand trial for that crime.

Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Eric Beech)