Texas to execute man who killed two in convenience store robbery

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 09, 2015 7:13 AM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man who fatally shot a man at a convenience store as part of a 2002 robbery and a police officer responding to the crime is set to be executed on Thursday by lethal injection.

Texas plans to execute Kent Sprouse, 42, at 6 p.m. at its death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, it would be the 523rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Sprouse entered a convenience store in Ferris, about 20 miles south of Dallas, with a shotgun slung over his shoulder in October 2002. After he left, the store clerk called police to report a robbery, according to court documents.

Sprouse then went to the filling station in front of the store and exchanged words with Pedro Moreno, 38, as he was pumping gas. Sprouse fired one shot that went through a pump hose and hit Moreno, killing him, according to court documents.

Sprouse waited in the parking lot until Ferris Police Officer Harry Steinfeldt, 28, arrived on the scene. He shot the officer twice. Steinfeldt, who later died from his injuries, returned fire, hitting Sprouse.

More than 1,000 people from across Texas turned out for Steinfeldt's funeral in Ferris, which then had a population of about 2,200 people.

Sprouse had multiple drugs in his system at the time of the incident, including amphetamines, according to medical evidence presented at his trial.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Eric Beech)