The Latest: Texas executes its first inmate of the year

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Posted: Jan 20, 2016 8:02 PM
The Latest: Texas executes its first inmate of the year

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The latest on the scheduled execution of Texas inmate Richard Masterson, who was convicted in a 2001 strangulation that he claimed was accidental (all times local):

7 p.m.

Texas has executed a man convicted of a killing 15 years ago in the state's first lethal injection of 2016.

Richard Masterson had claimed the January 2001 strangulation of Darin Honeycutt was accidental and had several appeals before the courts. His last-day efforts to stop his execution were rejected.

He was pronounced dead at 6:53 p.m. Wednesday.

Masterson had testified at his trial that the death of the 35-year-old Honeycutt in Houston happened accidentally during a chokehold that was part of a sex act. The two had met at a bar and then went to Honeycutt's apartment.

Honeycutt was an entertainer who performed dressed as a woman. Honeycutt's stage name was Brandi Houston.

Court records showed Masterson confessed to police, told others about the killing and acknowledged Honeycutt was slain on purpose in a letter to the Texas attorney general in 2012.

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5:50 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to stop the execution of a Texas man for a killing 15 years ago that he claimed was accidental.

The high court rejected four appeals for 43-year-old Richard Masterson on Wednesday evening, less than an hour before he was to be taken to the death chamber.

Earlier in the day, Texas' top criminal court also refused to block the punishment, rejecting an appeal challenging a state law that keeps secret the name of the execution drug supplier.

Masterson was convicted of the January 2001 strangulation of 35-year-old Darin Honeycutt in Houston. Masterson has said the death happened accidentally during a chokehold that was part of a sex act. The two had met at a bar and then went to Honeycutt's apartment.

Honeycutt was an entertainer who performed dressed as a woman.

Court records showed Masterson confessed to police and acknowledged Honeycutt was slain on purpose in a letter to the Texas attorney general in 2012.