Fight Breaks Out In Death Chamber Following Inmate's Bizarre Final Words

A fight broke out in a death chamber in Texas, US, shortly after an inmate said his unusual final words.

Billie Wayne Coble was sentenced to death for shooting and killing his estranged wife's parents and her brother in 1989.

On Thursday evening, the 70-year-old was administered with a lethal injection, becoming the oldest person to be executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.

When asked to say his final words, Coble replied: "That'll be $5," according to the New York Post.

He then told the five witnesses he selected that he loved them, before adding once again, "That'll be $5, take care."

As he finished his last words, his son, a friend and his daughter-in-law are said to have become violent, shouting obscenities, kicking and punching at others in the death chamber's witness area. Officers subsequently stepped in, but the trio resisted, before eventually being moved to a courtyard, where the two men were handcuffed. They were then taken to Walker County Jail for resisting arrest.

During this period, Coble was injected with a single dose of pentobarbital and he died 11 minutes later at 6.24pm.

Billie Wayne Coble. Credit: PA
Billie Wayne Coble. Credit: PA

According to the Dallas Morning News, Coble's final cryptic message may have been a reference to his nickname, '$5 Bill'.

In 1989, Coble kidnapped his wife Karen Vicha, in a fit of rage and upset caused by their pending divorce. He was arrested but released on bond, and nine days later he returned to Karen's home and tied up her three daughters and her nephew, J.R. Vicha.

From there he went to the nearby homes of Karen's parents, Robert and Zelda, and her brother, Bobby, and shot them all dead. He then abducted and assaulted Karen and threatened to rape and kill her.

He was eventually arrested in Bosque County after being chased by police.

He was convicted of murder in 1990 but a new trial on punishment was ordered in 2007, and a year later, a jury sentenced him to death. During the retrial, one of the prosecutors described Coble as having 'a heart full of scorpions'.

Earlier on Thursday, the US Supreme Court turned down Coble's request to have his execution delayed, after a state appeals court and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also both rejected the proposed commutation.

J.R. Vicha, 40 - who Coble tied up as an 11-year-old before killing his father - said the murderer deserved worse than he got.

According to the New York Post, he said: "Still, the way they do it is more humane than what he did to my family. It's not what he deserves but it will be good to know we got as much justice as allowed by the law."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jake Massey

Jake Massey is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from Newcastle University before going to live in Australia and New Zealand for a few years, where he wrote a travel blog. He has previously written for the Eastern Daily Press, Giggle Beats, CALM and Front Magazine. Jake enjoys playing football, listening to music and writing about himself in the third person.

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