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Texas Executes Cheerleader Killer

October 15, 1999 GMT

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man who nicknamed himself ``Animal″ was executed by injection Thursday for the rape-slaying of an 18-year-old high school cheerleader, one of three people killed during a daylong murder spree in 1986.

Jerry McFadden, 51, made no final statement.

The mother of victim Suzanne Denise Harrison burst into tears as she entered the death chamber, crying, ``He looked at me.″ She turned away and said, ``He took our children.″

The victim’s brother, Craig Harrison, got as close to the window as he could to see McFadden gasp and sputter twice. ``He’s gutless,″ Harrison said of McFadden.

The discovery of the three victims from Hawkins, about 100 miles east of Dallas, and subsequent arrest of McFadden, on parole after three rape convictions, made the former telephone cable installer one of the region’s most notorious criminals.

The long-haired, tattoo-covered McFadden enhanced the reputation when he broke out of the Upshur County Jail before his capital murder trial. He took a female jailer hostage and for three days evaded one of the most intense manhunts in Texas history. A dragnet involved some 1,200 officers before McFadden was caught.

The jailer managed to escape unhurt from a railroad boxcar.

McFadden was condemned for raping and beating Ms. Harrison, a high school cheerleader, then strangling her with her own underwear. Two friends who accompanied her on May 4, 1986, for a Sunday drive were shot to death.

McFadden never was charged with the other killings.

Meanwhile in Utah, 35-year-old Joseph Mitchell Parsons was scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Friday for fatally stabbing a man.