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Texas executes abduction killer

A man convicted of abducting a young US couple, raping the woman and fatally stabbing the man in 1991 has been executed.

Jamie McCoskey, 49, was on a form of probation when he was arrested for the murder of 21-year-old Michael Dwyer, who had been stabbed nearly two dozen times, and the rape of Dwyer's pregnant fiance. The couple had been abducted from their apartment in Houston, Texas.

Asked if he had any final statement, McCoskey replied: "The best time in my life is during this period. I have been touched by an angel's wings."

He said that if he could, he would "change Dwyer's parents' suffering, because I know they are".

During his brief comments, and as a tear ran down the side of his face just above a tattoo teardrop and below his right eye, McCoskey said he wanted "to say some things so bad".

He said he appreciated people who had helped him, then turned his gaze toward Dwyer's mother and stepfather, saying, "And if this takes the pain away, so be it."

After telling the warden he was "ready to go", McCoskey turned his head back towards the warden in the seconds before the lethal dose of pentobarbital began taking effect and said loudly: "Better not be no mix-up here. I don't want no stay."

McCoskey let out a loud laugh, then began taking deep breaths that became several snores. He was pronounced dead 19 minutes after the drug began to be administered.

Dwyer's mother and stepfather declined to speak to reporters afterward.

McCoskey became the 15th convicted killer executed this year in Texas, which carries out the death penalty more than any other state.

The US Supreme Court earlier this year refused to review McCoskey's case, and his lawyers filed no last-day appeals in the courts.

Evidence showed the couple had left the door of their apartment open while they were bringing home groceries and were confronted by the knife-wielding McCoskey exactly 22 years ago.

He ordered them to their car, handcuffed Dwyer, drove around Houston and stopped at an abandoned ramshackle house where he raped the woman. She fled to a nearby home to seek help when she realised sounds she was hearing were of Dwyer being stabbed repeatedly.

Their car was found at an apartment complex where McCoskey once lived. Based on a description of the attacker, residents there identified McCoskey.

His mother testified at his trial that McCoskey had an abusive childhood that led to behavioural problems. After stints in juvenile facilities, his offences escalated as he reached adulthood.

Before reaching death row in Huntsville, he had a kidnapping conviction in Austin, assaults while in prison, marijuana possession busts and a jail term where records show he used a chisel to crack the skull of a fellow Harris County inmate.

"My only wish for Jamie is god speed," Jim Peacock, his lead defence lawyer, said. "And I hope whatever there is for him after this point is kinder to him than his past has been."

At least seven other Texas prisoners are set to die in the coming months, including one next month.

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