AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The state of Texas on Tuesday plans to execute a man for launching a 1987 crime spree that left four people dead, including a four-month-old boy he drowned in a sink.
After more than 25 years on death row, James Bigby, 61, is set to be put to death by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber at 6 p.m. local time (2300 GMT).
If the execution goes ahead as planned, it will be the 542nd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.
There are no pending appeals for Bigby. Lawyers had previously asked for a halt to his execution, saying he has schizophrenia and his mental illness was not properly considered as a mitigating factor during sentencing.
Bigby was convicted and sentenced to death for the Fort Worth-area murders of Michael Trekell, 26, and his son Jayson, a 17-week old infant. He was also suspected, but not charged with the deaths of Calvin Crane and Frank Johnson.
Bigby thought his three friends were trying to block a worker’s compensation claim he filed. To stop them, he shot Trekell in the head and killed the baby in December 1987. Later the same day, he killed Crane and the next day he went to Johnson’s house and fatally shot him when he opened the door, according to court documents.
He was arrested after an standoff with police during which he threatened suicide and said he wanted to go out “in a blaze of glory,” the documents showed.
During a recess in his murder trial, Bigby retrieved a revolver from the judge’s bench, entered the judge’s chambers, pointed the gun at the judge’s head, and said, “Let’s go,” the documents said.
He was eventually subdued, later convicted and sentenced to death.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz, editing by G Crosse