HUNTSVILLE (May 15, 2013)—Jeffrey Demond Williams, 37, was executed Tuesday evening in Huntsville for gunning down a Houston police officer 14 years ago, almost to the day.
Officer Tony Blando, 39, was shot to death on May 19, 1999 as he worked an auto theft surveillance assignment.
Blando was driving through the parking lot of a hotel in Houston looking for stolen vehicles when he saw Williams at the wheel of a Lexus that had been taken during an armed robbery, authorities said.
Williams stepped out of the car and Blando approached him with his gun drawn, but the two struggled and Williams pulled out a gun and shot the officer in the chest, authorities said.
Witnesses said Blando was trying to handcuff Williams at the time.
Blando was able to use his radio to call for help, but later died.
When officers arrested Williams a short time later near the shooting scene, the handcuffs were dangling from his wrist.
Williams told police he didn’t know that Blando, who was in plainclothes and in an unmarked vehicle, was a police officer.
He said he thought Blando was trying to rob him and claimed he fired in self-defense.
But one of the officers who responded to Blando’s call for help testified that Blando was wearing his badge around his neck.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Williams’ appeal about an hour before the execution.
His attorneys had argued for a delay in the execution to give the courts time to review their claims that Williams had deficient legal help at trial and in the early stage of his appeals.
The execution was the sixth of the year in Texas.
A state district judge, meanwhile Wednesday, granted a 60-day stay of the execution of inmate Robert Pruett, who was scheduled to die next Tuesday for the stabbing death of a Texas prison guard.
Pruett’s attorney wanted time for additional DNA testing and prosecutors agreed to the 60-day delay.
Pruett has denied killing the officer.
At the time of the attack, Pruett was serving 99 years for a murder in Harris County.