Texas executes man convicted of murdering three in Houston

Reuters

Texas death row inmate Derrick Charles is seen in an undated handout picture

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas on Tuesday executed a man convicted of murdering his girlfriend, her mother and grandfather in their Houston home in 2002 as he took revenge on the family for trying to cut off his relationship with the daughter.

Derrick Charles, 32, was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT after receiving a lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said.

Charles, who strangled the three, was the 525th inmate executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, with the state accounting for 37 percent of all executions in the country during that time.

“I’m ready to go home,” Charles said in his last statement, prisons officials said.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition seeking to halt the execution. Lawyers for Charles had argued he was mentally incompetent and could not legally be subject to capital punishment.

At the time of the crime, Charles was 19 and out on parole for burglary. Prosecutors said he sought revenge on Brenda Bennett, 44, because she was trying to stop her underage daughter Myiesha Bennett, 15, from having sex with him.

Charles hid in the family home and first beat Obie Bennett, 77, using a lamp and trophies. The grandfather was found in the kitchen with an electric cord around his neck, prosecutors and the Texas Attorney General’s Office said.

He then waited for Brenda and Myiesha Bennett to come home. When they arrived, he bound and gagged them. According to prosecutors, Charles killed Myiesha and sexually assaulted and strangled her mother.

Charles pleaded guilty to the crime and was later sentenced to death.

(Editing by Eric Walsh and Peter Cooney)