Michael Yowell (Texas prison photo)
HUNTSVILLE (October 9, 2013)—Texas death row inmate Michael Yowell, 43, was executed Wednesday evening in Huntsville for the 1998 murders of his parents in Lubbock in a drug-induced attack that also claimed the life of his 89-year-old grandmother.
Yowell sought to block the execution by joining two other death row inmates in a lawsuit challenging the purchase of a new supply of pentobarbital for the lethal injection.
A federal appeals court late Tuesday rejected the lawsuit, agreeing with Houston federal judge who ruled Texas prison officials did nothing wrong and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the inmates’ arguments in a brief ruling delivered minutes before Yowell was taken to the death chamber Wednesday evening.
Texas, like other states that have the death penalty, was forced to turn to a compounding pharmacy to provide drugs for lethal injections after traditional manufacturers refused to make their products available to state prison agencies for use in executions.
Compounding pharmacies custom-make medications, but aren't subjected to strict federal scrutiny.
Yowell, a drug user with a $200-a-day habit, was sentenced to death in October 1999 after jurors convicted him of capital murder in the violent attack at his parents’ home.
His father, Johnny Yowell, was shot to death and his mother, Carol Yowell was strangled in the attack.
After he killed his parents, authorities said he opened a natural gas jet in the house.
When his grandmother opened the door to her bedroom, the house exploded, leaving her critically injured.
She later died.
Two days after the murders, Yowell admitted he killed his father, who caught him trying to steal money to buy drugs, and that he struggled with his mother before beating and strangling her, court records show.
Afterward he said he ran to the kitchen in a panic and opened the gas jet, records show.