By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A man known as the "tourniquet killer" for the method he used to torture and strangle the five girls and young women he was convicted of raping and murdering is due to be executed in Texas on Wednesday.
Anthony Shore, 55, is set to be put to death by lethal injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT). If the execution goes ahead, it will be the seventh this year in Texas and the 21st in the United States, one more than the national total in 2016.
Courts have rejected appeals from the death row inmate to spare his life based on arguments that Shore suffered from brain damage and his execution would violate constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment, court documents showed.
Shore was a serial rapist and murderer who killed five girls and women in the 1980s and 1990s in the Houston area. He strangled his victims with handmade tourniquets, the Harris County District Attorney's office said.
The crimes went unsolved for more than decade until he was arrested for sexually molesting two girls who were relatives and his DNA was put on file as a sexual predator, the office said.
The DNA was tested a few years later against cold case files, and it turned up to be a positive match in at least one case. He was brought in for questioning and confessed to raping and murdering five girls and women, they said.
He was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to death.
His victims included Maria del Carmen Estrada, who was raped and her nude body left in the drive-thru of a Dairy Queen in 1992, the district attorney's office for the county that contains Houston said.
Shore’s other victims included 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay who was killed in 1986, a 14-year-old girl he killed in 1993, nine-year-old Dana Rebollar who was killed in 1994, and 16-year-old Dana Sanchez killed in 1995. All were raped, tortured and murdered by Shore, it said.
"(He is) a true serial killer, a person deserving of the ultimate punishment. His crimes were predatory, and his victims the most vulnerable in society - women and children," Kim Ogg, the Harris County district attorney, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Grant McCool by James Dalgleish)