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David Long Executed in Texas

December 9, 1999 GMT

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ Despite a recent suicide attempt and a last-minute effort by his lawyers to have his execution postponed, David Long was executed by injection Wednesday for the hatchet slayings of three women in 1986.

In a strong voice, Long, 46, apologized for the murders.

``I was raised by the California Youth Authority,″ he said, looking at the niece of one of his victims watching through a window a few feet away. ``I was in their reformatory schools and their penitentiary, but they create monsters in there.″

Long took short breaths as the drugs began taking effect, and a few seconds later he snorted and began gurgling. A blackish-brown liquid then spouted from his nose and mouth and dribbled to the floor.

Prison officials later said Long had vomited a charcoal solution administered at the hospital to neutralize the drugs he took in his suicide attempt. Long had been hospitalized Monday after overdosing on prescribed anti-depressants authorities believe he hoarded in his death row cell.

Long’s attorneys sought a court order from his Dallas trial court judge, Edwin King, to have the execution postponed. King refused a reprieve, saying that because Long previously was judged competent to be executed, there was a presumption of competency.

Court rulings have determined an inmate must be aware of his surroundings and know why he is being punished before he can be executed.

Long was executed for the 1986 killings at a home in Lancaster, just south of Dallas. He was arrested in Austin about a month after the bodies of Donna Sue Jester, 37; her blind cousin, Dalpha Lorene Jester, 64; and a third woman, Laura Lee Owens, 20, were found. All three had been beaten with a foot-long hatchet.

Long was hitchhiking and had been discharged from an alcohol abuse program in Little Rock, Ark., when Donna Jester gave him a ride and a place to stay.

``They objected to my drinking,″ he has said of the rampage. ``I just got tired of hearing all the bickering.″