August 31, 2006

Texas executes man for murdering mother, son

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - Texas executed a former drug
dealer on Thursday for the 1997 murders of a 41-year-old woman
and her 15-year-old son at their home near the south Texas town
of Refugio.

Derrick Frazier, 29, was condemned for shooting Betsy and
Cody Nutt to death in their rural mobile home on June 26, 1997,
after pretending he and accomplice Jermaine Herron needed a
ride because of a car breakdown.

Frazier, then 20, confessed to shooting Betsy and Cody
Nutt, but later recanted and said Herron killed the mother and

Herron was executed in May for his role in the slayings.
The men committed a burglary at a house near the Nutt residence
prior the murders.

A friend of the two men testified they intended to kill
someone on the night of burglary to obtain a vehicle. The
owners of the house they broke into were not home.

Betsy Nutt's pickup truck was stolen on the night she was
killed. Frazier's fingerprints were found inside the truck when
it was recovered.

While strapped to a gurney in the death chamber shortly
before his lethal injection, Frazier said he was being wrongly

"I am innocent," he said. "I am being punished for a crime
I did not commit. I have professed my innocence for nine years,
and I continue to say I am innocent."

Frazier was the 20th person executed in Texas this year and
the 375th put to death in the state since it resumed capital
punishment in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court
lifted a national death penalty ban. Both totals lead the

Frazier did not request a last meal.

Texas has seven more executions scheduled this year.