A lethal combination of chemicals was injected into the arm of Joseph Stanley Faulder on Thursday evening. Several minutes later he died, ending a 24-year battle with the Texas justice system.
Last minute appeals failed to save the life of the 61-year-old, the first Canadian to be executed in the United States since 1952.
Faulder was pronounced dead at 6:18 Central Time. His last words were, "No statement."
Just minutes before the execution took place, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Faulder's final appeal. "The application for stay of execution of sentence of death ...is denied," the court said in a written statement.
Texas Governor George W. Bush said he saw "no new evidence that questions the jury's verdict that he is guilty of this crime," and refused to use his authority to commute the death sentence.
Faulder, originally from Jasper, Alberta, found himself on death row after a botched robbery attempt in 1975. Faulder confessed to the brutal beating and stabbing death of 75 year-old Inez Phillips, a well-known, wealthy matriarch of a rich Texas oil family. She was found in her home with her skull fractured, her mouth taped, her arms tied and a butcher knife buried in her chest.
Twice Faulder stood trial for the murder and twice he was convicted. But through it all, he was never told of his right under international law to contact the Canadian embassy.
Four members of the Phillips family were there when the sentence was carried out. Faulder never made eye contact with the family. They watched the execution through a window in another room. Jack Phillips, the victim's son, stood closest to the window.
Appeals from the Canadian government, death penalty opponents, even the United States Secretary of State, were all brushed aside by Governor Bush. Last December Bush, who is now seeking the Republican nomination for president, told reporters, "People can't just come in our state and cold-blooded murder somebody. That's unacceptable behaviour, regardless of their nationality."
At that time, Faulder was just 30 minutes away from being executed when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay. The court later rescinded that reprieve. Faulder said his goodbyes to his family last weekend. He said he didn't want them to watch him die.
According to witnesses, Faulder died quietly.
Prison officials have previously detailed how they carry out executions. The prisoner is given one injection which puts him to sleep. The second injection causes the diaphragm and lungs to seize and stop. They say the prisoner doesn't notice when the potassium chloride stops his heart and kills him.
In Faulder's case, witnesses say, he closed his eyes, coughed twice, let out a deep gasp and then ceased to move.
His remains will be cremated and shipped to Canada.