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Texas executes convicted rapist, killer

A 51-year-old man convicted for the murder and rape of a young woman in 1995 was put to death in Texas on Thursday, prison officials said.

world Updated: Feb 13, 2009 09:18 IST

A 51-year-old man convicted for the murder and rape of a young woman in 1995 was put to death in Texas on Thursday, prison officials said.

Johnny Johnson was pronounced dead at 6:19 (0019 GMT Friday) at the Huntsville prison, eight minutes after he was administered a lethal injection.

"I ask each of you to lift up your voices to demand an end to the death penalty," Johnson said in his last statement, after describing death row at the prison as "the pit of hopelessness."

Johnson was sentenced on May 30, 1996 for the rape and murder of Leah Smith, crimes that he confessed to after his arrest.

After Smith had refused him sex, Johnson slammed her head repeatedly against the street in Houston, Texas before raping her, the Texas Department of Justice said.

Johnson proceeded to kick his Smith in the head before fleeing the scene. He returned later to rape her again and retrieve his wallet.

In the subsequent trial Johnson confessed to killing and raping three other women, and raping a dozen others.

He is the eighth man to be killed by the state of Texas since the beginning of this year.

Texas holds a record for the most executions, 431 since 1976, when the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty.

Four men are set to be put to death in Texas in March.