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Texas man executed for role in robbery-shooting

Associated Press Modified: April 27, 2012 at 12:30 am •  Published: April 27, 2012

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas man condemned for a robbery in which three people were shot, one fatally, apologized to a woman who survived the 2002 attack and family members of the slain man before receiving a lethal injection Thursday.

Beunka Adams said he was a stupid kid in a man's body at the time of the crime, which started at a convenience store southeast of Dallas and ended in a remote area several miles away.

"Everything that happened that night was wrong," Adams, 29, said, as he stared at the death chamber ceiling, never looking at the people who gathered to watch his final moments. "If I could take it back, I would. ... I messed up and can't take that back."

His death was carried out less than three hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-day appeal to postpone the execution, the fifth this year in Texas.

Adams' attorneys had asked the nation's highest court to halt the lethal injection, review his case and let him pursue appeals claiming he had deficient legal help at his trial and during earlier stages of his appeals.

He won a reprieve from a federal district judge earlier this week, but the Texas attorney general's office appealed the ruling, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the death warrant Wednesday.

Adams expressed love to his family Thursday and asked those witnessing his execution to avoid letting any hate they had for him consume them.

"I really hate things turned out the way they did," he said. "For everybody involved, I don't think any good came out of it."

He took about a dozen breaths, then started to wheeze and snore. Eventually, he became still. He was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m. CDT, nine minutes after the lethal drugs began to flow into his body.

Adams and another man were sent to death row for the slaying of Kenneth Vandever, 37, who was in a convenience store on Sept. 2, 2002, in Rusk, about 115 miles southeast of Dallas, when two men wearing masks walked in. The men announced a holdup; one of them was carrying a shotgun.

After robbing the store, Adams and Richard Cobb, both from East Texas, drove off with the two female clerks and Vandever in a car belonging to one of the women.

Testimony at Adams' trial showed he gave the orders during the holdup and initiated the abductions. They drove to a remote area about 10 miles away in Cherokee County, where Adams ordered Vandever and one woman to get inside the car trunk and then raped the other woman. Testimony also showed he forced all three to kneel as they were shot.

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