Today in Texas History – December 7

From the Annals of the Death House –   In 1982, Texas became the first state to use lethal injection to execute prisoners. The lethal dose was an intravenous injection of sodium pentathol – a barbiturate that is known as a “truth serum” when administered in lesser doses. Texas adopted the lethal injection procedure as a supposedly more humane method of executing those convicted of capital crimes.  Over the next few years, 32 other states, the federal government, and the U.S. military all began using various forms of lethal injection to execute prisoners.

Charlie Brooks Jr., convicted for the murder of David Gregory, was the first prisoner in the U.S. to be executed by injection at the Walls Unit in Huntsville.  Gregory, an auto mechanic at a used car lot, accompanied Brooks on a supposed test drive of a car.  However, Brooks took Gregory back to a motel where he was hanging out and shooting heroin with Woody Lourdes and his girlfriend Marlene Smith after engaging in a shoplifting spree.  Brooks shot and killed Gregory in an almost absurdly amateurish manner.  Lourdes had informed the hotel manager that they had a man in the room who was bound and gagged and that they were going to have to kill him while pointing a revolver at the manager and telling her that he would kill her too if she talked.  As such, the crime was easily discovered and solved.  Brooks was sentenced to death.  Lourdes was also sentenced to death but his conviction was reversed and he reached a plea deal to serve 40 years.   David Gregory left behind a wife and young son.

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