Texas Executes Man Who Shot and Killed Two During 2002 Convenience Store Robbery

PHOTO CREDIT: AP
PHOTO CREDIT: AP

Texas on Thursday executed a man who fatally shot a convenience store customer and a responding police officer during a 2002 robbery, a prisons spokesman said.

Kent Sprouse, 42, was put to death by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 6:33 p.m. CDT at the state’s execution chamber in Huntsville.

He became the 523rd inmate executed in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.

Sprouse entered a convenience store in Ferris, about 20 miles south of Dallas, with a shotgun slung over his shoulder in October 2002. After he left, the store clerk called police to report a robbery, according to court documents.

Sprouse then went to the filling station in front of the store and exchanged words with Pedro Moreno, 38, as he was pumping gas. Sprouse fired one shot that went through a pump hose and hit Moreno, killing him, according to court documents.

Sprouse waited in the parking lot until Ferris Police Officer Harry Steinfeldt, 28, arrived on the scene. He shot the officer twice. Steinfeldt, who later died from his injuries, returned fire, hitting Sprouse.

“I would like to apologize to the Moreno family and the Steinfeldt family for all of the trouble I have caused them,” Sprouse was quoted as saying by prison officials in his last statement.

“I would like to apologize to my family for all of the trouble that I have caused them. I would also like to thank my family for all of their support. I guess that’s it,” he said.

More than 1,000 people from across Texas turned out for Steinfeldt’s funeral in Ferris, which then had a population of about 2,200 people.

Sprouse had multiple drugs in his system at the time of the incident, including amphetamines, according to medical evidence presented at his trial.

SOURCE: Reuters, Jon Herskovitz

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