Two condemned killers were put to death in Oklahoma and Texas, becoming the nation's third and fourth executions of the year.
Reginald Perkins, a convicted rapist and suspected serial killer, was on Thursday executed in Texas for strangling and robbing his stepmother in Fort Worth more than eight years ago. About an hour before he was executed, Perkins summoned a prison official to his cell and gave him a statement professing his innocence.
"They didn't link me to nothing. I did not kill my stepmom," he said. "I loved her. Texas is going to kill an innocent man."
Perkins was pronounced dead at 6:24 pm, eight minutes after the lethal drugs were administered.
The victim's family said in a statement that they were grateful for the execution.
"God will deal with him now," they said. "What a great state to live in to know justice was served."
Perkins was the second convicted killer executed in as many days in the nation's most active death penalty state. Three inmates are scheduled to die in Texas next week.
Perkins was condemned for the slaying of 64-year-old Gertie Perkins, whose body was found in the trunk of her Cadillac in 2000.
In Oklahoma, a man convicted of beating a convenience store clerk to death with a baseball bat nearly 14 years ago was put to death at Oklahoma State Penitentiary on Thursday.
Darwin Demond Brown, 32, apologised to the family of the victim as they watched, and thanked his family for their love and support.
He was pronounced dead, six minutes after receiving the lethal injection.