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Texas Inmate Executed For Killing An Elderly Mother And Daughter In 2003

An undated Texas Department of Criminal Justice photo shows death row inmate Billy Jack Crutsinger. He was executed for fatally stabbing an 89-year-old woman and her daughter more than 16 years ago.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

A Texas death row inmate was executed Wednesday by lethal injection for the 2003 fatal stabbing of two women, an elderly mother and her daughter, who had angered him when they were unable to provide him with enough work at their home for him to sustain himself.

Billy Jack Crutsinger, 64, died at the state penitentiary in Huntsville 13 minutes after receiving a lethal dose of pentobarbital.

Crutsinger was convicted of killing 89-year-old Pearl Magouirk and her 71-year-old daughter, Patricia Syren, in their Fort Worth home. Magouirk was stabbed at least seven times and Syren was stabbed at least nine times. Afterward, Crutsinger stole Syren's car and credit card. He was found three days later about 300 miles away in a bar in Galveston. DNA tied Crutsinger to the crime and he confessed.

Crutsinger's defense attorney had argued that he had a history of alcoholism and became violent when drunk.

But in her petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to stop the execution, his current attorney, Lydia Brandt, said the jury heard nothing about his life that might explain his alcoholism in relation to the murders.

She also insisted that Crutsinger had been represented on the appellate level by an incompetent attorney. The Supreme Court declined to intervene.

Crutsinger was the fifth inmate executed in Texas this year; 10 more are scheduled by the end of the year. Overall, 14 inmates have been executed in the U.S. this year.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: September 4, 2019 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story spelled Pearl Magouirk's last name Magourik.
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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