Proclaims Innocence Until The End
The man convicted in the brutal murders of a teen girl and her three-year-old cousin in Houston 24 years ago has been executed. Preston Hughes III, 46, was put to death by lethal injection Thursday evening in Huntsville. His execution was delayed nearly two hours, because of multiple last-minute court appeals. "The courts looked at those and subsequently denied them, and we moved forward with the execution a little after 7:20 (p.m.)," says Jason Clark with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Included in those appeals was one to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied hours before Hughes went to the death chamber.
Hughes was convicted for the September 1988 fatal stabbings of 15-year-old Shandra Charles and three-year-old Marcell Taylor, who were found in a field behind the Houston apartment complex where he lived. Police say Charles identified "Preston" as their attacker before she died from her wounds. Since his conviction a year later, Hughes has maintained his innocence, claiming police planted evidence and coerced him into confessions. His supporters even set up a petition to try and prevent the execution from going forth. Clark says Hughes continued to claim his innocence right up until the end. "He looked over at his mom and said 'I know I'm innocent, I love you both, please continue to fight for my innocence even though I'm gone.'"