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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Condemned prisoner Franklin Dewayne Alix was headed to the Texas death chamber Tuesday evening for fatally shooting a Houston man during a robbery.

Condemned prisoner Franklin Dewayne Alix was headed to the Texas death chamber Tuesday evening for fatally shooting a Houston man during a robbery. Alix, 34, faced lethal injection for the capital murder of 23-year-old Eric Bridgeford, who interrupted Alix as he robbed the apartment of Bridgeford's sister. The sister also accused Alix of abduction and rape. Authorities say Alix conducted a six-month crime rampage. The execution would be the fifth this year in Texas, the nation's busiest capital punishment state. Alix's lawyer, Robert Rosenberg, said appeals to the courts to stop the execution were exhausted. "I know I messed up," Alix told The Associated Press recently from death row. "I killed the dude. I wasn't trying to but I did. The dude wasn't bothering me. I was bothering him. "I don't want to die. I'm remorseful. But I won't apologize."
According to trial testimony, Alix abducted Bridgeford's sister Jan. 3, 1998, forced her into the trunk of a car, drove around and raped her, then brought her home. As he was ransacking her apartment, Bridgeford came in, saw Alix with a gun and ran off but was shot in the back. Alix fled and was arrested a few days later. Alix denied the rape, said he spotted the woman outside her apartment at night and considered her "easy prey." He said he threatened to put her in the trunk of a car and she "volunteered to give me her TV" if he wouldn't kill her.
"That's how I got in her house," he said. "Her brother came home. It was just a simple robbery. My intention was never to kill anybody. I'm looking to rob, not kill." He said he was behind a door when Bridgeford entered the apartment. "I swung around, put the gun in his face," Alix said, "If I wanted to, I could have shot him between the eyes. I pushed off, and the gun went off. It happened in a second. It felt like hours. I looked at him and took off running."
Asked what he took in the robbery, he replied: "I didn't get nothing." At his 1998 trial, his lawyers tried to persuade the jury he didn't intend to kill Bridgeford. Jurors deliberated five hours before convicting him of capital murder. Alix said a debt of "a couple of thousand" dollars to a friend got out of control and forced him to turn to robbery to get money.
Harris County prosecutors said the slaying was one of three plus two rapes and dozens of robberies they tied to Alix from August 1997 through January 1998. "He was just a major league crime spree," Luci Davidson, a former prosecutor now in private practice, recalled last week. "He's probably one of the worst criminal defendants I ever tried as a prosecutor."
She said he confessed to most of the crimes. Alix said he confessed to the rape of Bridgeford's sister because he believed it would help him not get the death penalty. "I'm on death row because I was confused," he said. "I came here with confusion. I'm leaving a better person."
DNA evidence used in his trial also played a role in a scandal involving the Houston Police Department's crime lab when retests discredited the initial results. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming a federal district judge's findings, said the DNA evidence was part of a "larger body of proof," including Alix's long history of violence, that showed jurors he was dangerous and should be sentenced to death.
Scheduled to die next, on April 22, is William Berkley, 31, condemned for the March 2000 abduction, robbery, rape and fatal shooting of 18-year-old Sophia Martinez, whose body was found in the desert outside El Paso.



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