The Latest: Texas man executed in 2002 strangulation

The Latest: Texas man executed in 2002 strangulation


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HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the execution of Justen Hall in the 2002 slaying of Melanie Billhartz (all times local):

6:42 p.m.

A white supremacist gang member has been executed for strangling a West Texas woman over fears she would alert police about his drug operation.

Justen Hall received a lethal injection Wednesday evening at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.

The 38-year-old Hall was condemned for the October 2002 killing of 29-year-old Melanie Billhartz.

Prosecutors say Hall strangled Billhartz with an extension cord from his El Paso drug house and buried her body in the New Mexico desert.

His attorneys had asked to stop the execution, alleging he wasn't competent. But Hall previously said he was competent and acknowledged killing Billhartz. Prosecutors said two experts in 2017 also found Hall to be competent.

Hall was the 19th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the eighth in Texas.

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12:01 a.m.

A white supremacist on death row faces execution in Texas for strangling a woman over fears she would alert police about his drug operation.

Justen Hall is set to receive lethal injection Wednesday evening for the October 2002 killing of 29-year-old Melanie Billhartz.

Prosecutors say the 38-year-old Hall strangled Billhartz with an extension cord from his El Paso drug house and buried her body in the New Mexico desert.

His attorneys had asked to stop the execution, alleging he is not competent. But a judge last month denied the request, and no other appeals have since been filed.

If the execution happens, it would be the 19th in the U.S. and the eighth in Texas this year.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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