Final words of death row inmate who claimed to be innocent before being executed
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Death Penalty Information Centre
A death row inmate has been executed in Texas after previously claiming he was not guilty of murdering an estate agent.
Kosoul Chanthakoummane, 41, died by lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday (17 August) following the killing of 40-year-old Sarah Walker in July 2006.
Walker was found to have been stabbed more than 30 times inside a model home in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas, and while Chanthakoummane admitted to being inside the home he claimed he only went in to get a drink of water.
The inmate had been on parole at the time of the killing after serving time for aggravated kidnapping and robbery. DNA evidence revealed his blood in various places inside the home, including under Walker’s fingernails
In spite of the evidence, Chanthakoummane claimed he wasn't responsible in a letter filed in federal court in March, writing: "I am innocent."
Attorneys for Chanthakoummane appealed his death sentence and challenged the DNA evidence used to convict him, but the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals declined to delay the execution.
Prior to the execution, a Buddhist monk placed his right hand on Chanthakoummane’s chest and read a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes that refers to 'a time for everything' at the inmate's request. He responded: “Amen.”
After he was strapped to the death chamber chair, Chanthakoummane thanked Jesus Christ, ministers with the Texas prison system and 'all these people in my life that aided me in this journey'. He then offered a message to Walker's relatives, none of who attended the execution, saying: “I pray my death will bring them peace.”
The last words of Kosoul Chanthakoummane, executed tonight by Texas for the 2006 murder of Sarah Walker. pic.twitter.com/vKLGDEWCfW— Maurice Chammah (@MauriceChammah) August 18, 2022
As the lethal injection was administered, Chanthakoummane looked towards a window where his mother watched the scene unfold and mouthed, “Mom, I love you.”
He then took four breaths and gasped before he stopped moving altogether. He was pronounced dead 15 minutes later, at 6:33pm local time.
Prosecutors claimed Chanthakoummane had beat Walker with a wooden plant stand before stabbing her and stealing her Rolex watch and a silver ring. The estate agent was a mother of two and had been a top-seller for home builder D.R. Horton.
Chanthakoummane’s lawyers accused prosecutors of presenting faulty evidence in the case, but lawyers with the Texas Attorney General’s Office argued further DNA investigation would not help Chanthakoummane's case.
Walker's father, Joseph, had opposed Chanthakoummane’s execution and revealed prior to his death last year that he had forgiven Chanthakoummane.
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