In his final statement before being put to death, the 38-year-old Pruett said he hurt a lot of people and a lot of people hurt him. He said he was sorry and held no grudges.
“I’ve had to learn lessons in life the hard way,” he said. “One day there won’t be a need to hurt people.”
He told his friends who were watching the execution through a window that he loved them. “I’m ready to go,” Pruett said. “Nighty night, everybody. I’m done, warden.”
As the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began to flow, he started to chant: “Love. Light. It’s forever.”
His voice rose as he repeated the phrase. He added obscenities and soon was yelling. He started to slur his words before slipping into unconsciousness. He was pronounced dead at
Pruett, who was already serving a 99-year sentence for a neighbor’s killing near
About 100 corrections officers stood in formation outside the Huntsville Unit prison as Pruett was being executed. They remained there as Nagle’s relatives emerged from the prison after witnessing the punishment.
“While some people may not understand this, I forgive him because God’s word tells us to do so,” Nagle’s wife, Crystal, said. “Now it’s up to God, because Jesus is the one who does the final judgment.”
Pruett’s lawyers had asked the high court to review whether lower courts properly denied a federal civil rights lawsuit that sought additional DNA testing in his case. They also questioned whether a prisoner like Pruett, who claimed actual innocence in federal court because of newly discovered evidence after exhausting all other appeals, could be put to death.
Pruett avoided execution in
Pruett’s attorneys unsuccessfully sought more DNA testing and filed their federal civil rights lawsuit arguing Pruett had been denied due process.
No physical evidence tied Pruett to Nagle’s death at the McConnell Unit prison near
Pruett had said he was framed and that Nagle could have been killed by other inmates or corrupt officers at the McConnell Unit.
Pruett’s 99-year murder sentence was for participating with his father and a brother in the 1995 stabbing death of a 29-year-old neighbor,
According to court testimony from a sheriff’s detective, Pruett argued with Yarbrough and then got his father and brother to join him in attacking the man. Pruett punched and kicked Yarbrough and held him down while his father stabbed the man multiple times, the detective said.
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