Death Row inmate who killed pregnant ex and son executed with lethal injection

A man who suffocated his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her seven-year-old son to death before burying them in a shallow grave has been executed.

Stephen Barbee, 55, was placed on death row for killing 34-year-old Lisa Underwood and Jayden at their Fort Worth home in Texas in 2005, the Daily Mirror reports.

The murderer was administered with a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville but his execution was prolonged by almost 40 minutes as officials struggled to find veins in his hand or neck whilst he was strapped to the gurney.

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That was caused by the condemned man having a disability that meant he could not extend his arms.

He was eventually given the lethal dose at 7.09pm and pronounced dead at 7.35pm.

Barbee's lawyers had called for a stay of execution due to "intolerable pain and suffering" which he would suffer from the normal method with the prisoner's arms stretched out, but this was rejected by the Texas Attorney General's Office.

It was the second execution of the day in the US with Murray Hooper, 76, also put to death in Arizona for the murder of two people in 1980.

Prosecutors said Barbee killed his ex-girlfriend and her son because he didn't want his wife to know Underwood was seven months pregnant, presumably by him.

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DNA evidence later however revealed Barbee wasn't the father.

Underwood owned a Fort Worth bagel shop, which was named after her son and the pair were reported missing after failing to show up at a baby shower.

Barbee confessed to police he killed Underwood and her son but later claimed the confession was coerced and then always maintained he was innocent and framed by his business partner.

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His trial, including sentencing, took less than three days to complete in February 2006.

Barbee had sought to stop his execution over claims of religious freedom violations and indifference to his medical needs, but the US Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 16) declined an appeal from his lawyers.

On Monday (November 14), the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also unanimously declined to commute Barbee's death sentence to a lesser penalty or to grant a four-month reprieve.

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