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Brian E. Davis Texas DR
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William Berkley - Texas Death Row - Scheduled Execution
Scheduled Executions
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Start : Friday 23 April 2010, 0:00
End : Friday 23 April 2010, 0:00


William Berkley - Texas Death Row - Scheduled Execution for April 22, 2010

Victims:Sophia Martinez

The Crime: On 03/10/2000, in El Paso, Texas, Berkley kidnapped an 18 year old Hispanic female, Spohia Martinez, from a private residence and took her to a deserted area, where he sexually assaulted her, robbed her and shot her 5 times in the head with a 25 caliber pistol. Berkley then left her body in a deserted area.

HUNTSVILLE -- William Josef Berkley gasped his last breath Thursday at 5:18 p.m.

Berkley, convicted in the 2000 rape and murder of Sophia Martinez, 18, was put to death by lethal injection in front of her mother, two sisters and the man who prosecuted him.

In a small viewing room, Martinez's sisters, MaryAnn Martinez and Dulce Enriquez, and their mother, Lourdes Licerio, stood silently as they watched Berkley die. They wept silently while Licerio hugged one of her daughters.

It was over in minutes.

"Today is not about revenge. Today is not about closure. Today is not about anyone else other than my sister," MaryAnn Martinez read from a statement after the execution.

Berkley, who proclaimed his innocence until his death, was executed without much fanfare.

His girlfriend, Samantha Ann Gray; his lawyer, Cori Harbour; and his spiritual adviser Irene Wilcox watched Berkley lying on a gurney, his arms and chest tied down with leather straps.

He had few words before the lethal combination of drugs were administered.

"Samantha, I love you with all my heart and soul," Berkley said.

He then spoke to his lawyer, Harbour.

"Cori, thanks for everything. Make sure my princess is all right. Death before dishonor. Cori, I think you should continue with criminal law. It's your decision. They need lawyers out there that will fight," he said.

Berkley turned his attention to the warden.

"Death before dishonor. Warden, let her rip. Thank you for coming, Irene," he said.

He said nothing to Sophia Martinez's family.

Berkley was convicted in 2002 of killing Martinez. She had stopped at an East Side ATM in March 2000 while on her way to meet a blind date at a Downtown nightclub. Police and prosecutors said Berkley, 31, had been waiting nearby to rob someone because his friend, Michael Angelo Jacques, needed $200 to pay probation fees.

Berkley shot Martinez once in the face and forced his way into her red Pontiac Grand Am. He took her to a desert area in Northeast El Paso, raped her and shot her to death.

On Thursday, Berkley looked serious lying on the gurney.

Inside the death chamber were a priest and the prison warden. The death chamber was colored in bold green and appeared impersonal.

Berkley looked scared, in contrast to his calm and talkative demeanor on Wednesday when he gave his last interviews.

By the time witnesses walked in, the needles had already been inserted into both of his arms.

He did not seem in pain.

After he made his final statements and told the warden to "let her rip," the minutes seemed to tick by slowly as the injection of sodium thiopental, a sedative; pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant that collapses the diaphragm and lungs; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart, began flowing into Berkley's arms.

A prison chaplain stood near his feet, praying silently while grasping a small Bible in his hands.

Berkley closed his eyes as the drugs took effect. He then gave a loud swallow. After about a minute, he blew a loud breath and made a gurgling sound. His eyes closed again.

After about nine minutes, a prison doctor checked Berkley's vital signs by first removing Berkley's glasses, pointing a small flashlight into his pupils, checking his pulse and listening to his chest with a stethoscope.

He then pulled the sheet up over Berkley's face and announced the time of death.

Gray, who had been weeping since entering the witness room of the prison death house, began bawling. Wilcox tried to comfort her.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza viewed the execution with Martinez's family.

After the execution, MaryAnn Martinez read the statement.

The family chose not to take any questions from reporters.

"Sophia was our flesh and blood, our beloved," MaryAnn Martinez read from the statement.

"The night she was murdered she had no fanfare, no witnesses, no chaplain, no last meal."

Last Meal:
2 Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Cheeseburgers with ketchup and mustard
2 Jalapeno cheeseburgers with ketchup and mustard
Vanilla and chocolate ice cream. French fries with ketchup and mustard
Okra (breaded). Brownies. and 3 Root Beer Sodas

Final Statement:
"Samantha, I love you with all my heart and soul," Berkley said in his final words. "Cori, thanks for everything. Make sure my princess is alright. Cori, I think you should continue with criminal law. Itıs your decision. They need lawyers out there that will fight. Death before dishonor. Warden, let her rip. Thank you for coming, Irene."

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