DEATH ROW PRISONER COY WAYNE WESBROOK is photographed Feb. 3 at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit outside Livingston, Texas.

DEATH ROW PRISONER COY WAYNE WESBROOK is photographed Feb. 3 at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit outside Livingston, Texas.

LIVINGSTON, Texas

Condemned Texas prisoner Coy Wesbrook regrets the shooting rampage that left five people dead outside Houston in 1997, including his ex-wife, and says he’s prepared for his execution this evening.

“I’ve had 18 years to get ready for this,” Wesbrook, 58, said recently from a visiting cage outside death row.

Wesbrook’s lethal injection in Huntsville would be the eighth this year nationally and fourth in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any state. Two Georgia inmates have been executed so far in 2016, plus one each in Alabama and Florida.

Court appeals attempting to block the execution were exhausted, Don Vernay, Wesbrook’s attorney, said.

Previous appeals rejected in the courts focused on claims Wesbrook had deficient legal help at his trial and that an undercover informant improperly was used to obtain incriminating information for his trial. More recently, courts refused arguments that Wesbrook was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

“I guess it doesn’t matter in Texas,” Vernay said.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles earlier this week voted 7-0 to reject a clemency petition from Wesbrook.

“The main thing in my case is five victims, five shots, five bodies and everybody died,” Wesbrook said.

“If I could change things and turn back time and bring all these people back and I could be in my right mind and not under the influence of any alcohol, none of this would have taken place,” he said. “When you’re stone drunk or if what they call being buzzed, it doesn’t matter. You’re still not in your right mind thinking, and I wasn’t having rational thoughts at that time. That’s for certain.”

The five victims included Wesbrook’s ex-wife, Gloria Jean Coons, 32; her roommate, Diana Ruth Money, 43; and three men: Antonio Cruz, 35, Anthony Ray Rogers, 41, and Kelly Hazlip, 28.

The former security guard and delivery driver married Coons in 1995. They divorced the following year but continued seeing each other. They had lunch Nov. 12, 1997, and talked about reconciling. That was on his mind when he showed up that night at her apartment in Channelview, just east of Houston. Instead, he found a party in progress.

He testified at his 1998 trial that Coons humiliated him by having sex with two of the men while he was there. He said when he tried to leave, Cruz grabbed the keys to his truck and joined others in taunting him. He said he “lost it,” walked out, grabbed a rifle he kept in the truck and returned, shooting each person once. Coons was the final victim.

Court records show the five shots were fired within 40 seconds. Each victim was shot at close range.

Neighbors who heard the gunfire and called police saw Wesbrook emerge from the apartment, place the rifle inside his truck and stand calmly by the tailgate of the pickup to wait for sheriff ’s deputies to arrive.

“I’m sorry it happened,” he said from prison. “But I’m not going to sit here and boo-hoo about it.”

Two more Texas inmates are set to die later this month, followed by another in April.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: