Newton executed for 1987 slayings

Frances Newton has been on death row since she was convicted of killing her husband and two children in 1987.

Associated Press file
Frances Newton has been on death row since she was convicted of killing her husband and two children in 1987.

HUNTSVILLE — Frances Newton was executed today for the fatal shootings of her husband and two children 18 years ago, becoming the third woman, and first black woman, to be put to death in the state since executions resumed in 1982.


Strapped to the death chamber gurney and with her parents among the people watching, she declined to make a final statement, quietly saying "no" and shaking her head when the warden asked if she would like to speak.

Newton briefly turned her head to make eye contact with her family as the drugs began flowing. She appeared to attempt to mouth something to her relatives, but the drugs took affect. She coughed once and gasped as her eyes closed and her mouth remained slightly open. Eight minutes later at 6:17 p.m. CDT, she was pronounced dead.

One of her sisters stood flat against a wall at the rear of the death house, her arms raised against the wall and her head buried in her arms, refusing to watch. Her parents held hands and her mother brushed away a tear before they walked to the back of the chamber to console their other daughter.

About three dozen demonstrators chanted outside but the crowd paled in comparison to the group of hundreds that assembled in 1998 to protest the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, who was the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.