World: Texas man, who killed pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son, is executed after saying last words

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A Texas man who killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son more than 17 years ago was executed by lethal injection on Wednesday.

Stephen Barbee, 55, was pronounced deceased at 7:35 p.m. local time at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. Barbee was condemned for the February 2005 deaths of 34-year-old Lisa Underwood and her son, Jayden. The mother and son were found buried in a shallow grave in Denton County after being suffocated at their home in Fort Worth.

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Prosecutors said that Barbee killed them because he didn't want his wife to know that Underwood was seven months pregnant. However, DNA evidence later revealed that Barbee wasn’t the father.

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Stephen Barbee Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File © (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File) Stephen Barbee Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File

He confessed to police that he killed Underwood and Jayden but later recanted and claimed the confession was coerced. He has since maintained his innocence, saying he was framed by his business partner.

Before his death, Barbee talked about his faith in God. He also said he hoped it would not be a sad moment for his family and friends.

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Barbee did not mention Underwood or her son. He also did not look in the direction of his victims' family and friends.

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He cried as he told the warden to send him "home."

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"I just want everyone to have peace in their hearts," he said.

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The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had declined to commute Barbee's death sentence to a lesser penalty or to grant a four-month reprieve.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied an appeal from Barbee's lawyers to halt his execution over claims of religious freedom violations and indifference to his medical needs.

He was the fifth inmate put to death this year in Texas and was the last inmate scheduled for execution this year in the state.

In the U.S., 15 people — including Barbee — have been executed by lethal injection in 2022 and two more are scheduled for Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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