The outside of a Texas death chamber became a scene of chaos when the son of an inmate on death row pounded on chamber’s window, shouted obscenities and threw fists after his father said his last words.
70-year-old Billie Wayne Coble’s son and grandson reportedly swung and kicked at other people in the death chamber’s witness area, and continued to resist and act out even after officers stepped in.
The two men were eventually dragged out of the room by guards and were arrested on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
According to AP:
Billie Wayne Coble, a Vietnam War veteran who killed his estranged wife’s parents and brother and threatened to do the same to her in 1989, told five witnesses that he selected to attend his Thursday night execution that he loved them. Coble then nodded as they watched from a witness room, saying: “Take care.”
When he finished speaking, his son, grandson and daughter-in-law became emotional, and the men swung and kicked at others in the death chamber witness area. Officers stepped in but said the men continued to resist and were eventually moved to a courtyard, where both were handcuffed and arrested.
“Why are you doing this?” the woman asked. “They just killed his daddy.”
As the men were being subdued outside, a single dose of pentobarbital was injected into Coble. He gasped several times and began snoring as the lethal dose of drug was being administered inside the death chamber at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.
He was pronounced dead 11 minutes later, at 6:24 p.m. His son and grandson, later identified as Gordon Wayne Coble, 45, and Dalton Coble, 21, were arrested on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Both have been released on $1,000 bond each.
The 70-year-old Billie Wayne Coble was the oldest inmate executed by Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.
He was convicted nearly three decades ago for the August 1989 shooting deaths of Robert and Zelda Vicha, and their son, Bobby Vicha. The victims were killed at separate homes in Axtell, northeast of Waco. A prosecutor once described Coble as having “a heart full of scorpions.”
Coble, distraught over his pending divorce, kidnapped his wife, Karen Vicha. He was arrested and later freed on bond. Nine days after the kidnapping, Coble went to her home, where he handcuffed and tied up her three daughters and nephew, J.R. Vicha, according to investigators.
Coble then went to the homes of Robert and Zelda Vicha, 64 and 60 respectively, and Bobby Vicha, 39, who lived nearby, and fatally shot them.
After Karen Vicha returned home, Coble abducted her. He drove away, assaulted her and threatened to rape and kill her. He was arrested after wrecking the vehicle in neighboring Bosque County following a police chase.
Coble was convicted of capital murder in 1990. An appeals court ordered a new trial on punishment in 2007, but a second jury also sentenced him to death. Other appeals were also denied.
J.R. Vicha, Bobby Vicha’s son, was 11 when he was tied up and threatened by Coble during the killings. Coble’s execution would be a relief knowing the execution finally took place, said Vicha, who eventually became a prosecutor in part because of his father.
“Still, the way they do it is more humane than what he did to my family. It’s not what he deserves, but it will be good to know we got as much justice as allowed by the law,” he said ahead of the execution.
“This is not a happy night,” added McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson. “This is the end of a horror story for the Vicha family.”
Coble was the third inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the second in Texas, the nation’s busiest capital punishment state.
Watch a video report from KCEN-TV below:
A sad situation all around.