Cleve Foster was executed in Texas on Tuesday after having received three stays on death row from the U.S. Supreme Court due to questions about how forcefully his lawyers defended him.
Foster, a former Army recruiter was convicted along with an accomplice in the 2002 murder and rape of Nyanuer "Mary" Pal, whose body was found in a ditch, according to a report by the Texas Attorney General's office.
He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m. local time (2343 GMT) at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas criminal justice spokesman Jason Clark told reporters.
One year ago, the Supreme Court granted Foster, 48, a temporary stay of execution just 2 1/2 hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection. It was the third stay from the high court for Foster, who also was granted delays in January and April 2011. The former Army recruiter failed to win a fourth stay from the high court on Tuesday.
The request for a fourth reprieve was referred by Justice Antonin Scalia to the full court but just three of the nine justices -- Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- said they would favor another stay.
Shelton Ward, Foster's accomplice in the murder, died of brain cancer on death row in 2010. Throughout his trial, Foster maintained that Ward acted alone and that any contact he and the victim had was consensual.
According to a report obtained by Reuters, the two men and Pal were regulars at Fat Albert's bar in Fort Worth on the night before Valentine’s Day in 2012 when bartenders said Pal walked out with them. Pal left in her car and the men followed closely behind in Foster's truck, according to the report.
Eight hours later, Pal's body was found with a gunshot wound to the head and wadded-up duct tape nearby, Reuters reports.
In his last statement, Foster sent his love to his family and friends. "I love you, I pray one day we will all meet in heaven ...," Foster said. "Ready to go home to meet my maker."
Foster is the 30th person executed in the United States this year and the ninth in Texas.
Texas has executed more than four times as many people as any other state since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.