4th Texas execution delayed in midst of virus outbreak
DAINGERFIELD, Texas (AP) — A fourth scheduled execution of a Texas death row inmate was delayed Monday because of the coronavirus spread around the state.
Billy Joe Wardlow’s execution was postponed from April 29 to July 8.
Wardlow, 45, was condemned for the June 1993 fatal shooting of 82-year-old Carl Cole during a robbery at his home in Cason, located about 130 miles (209 kilometers) east of Dallas.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The execution date was changed by state District Judge Angela Saucier of Titus County in East Texas.
While Saucier didn’t mention COVID-19 in her order, Morris County District Attorney Steve Cowan had requested the change citing the statewide disaster declaration due to the virus. He also cited three other executions the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals delayed in March and earlier this month.
Wardlow’s attorneys had requested the execution date instead be withdrawn, which would have resulted in a new date much later than July 8.