Carl Henry Blue
Carl Henry Blue, 48, who received the death penalty in a 1994 murder case, was the first person executed in Texas this year. Reuters

Convicted murderer Carl Henry Blue was put to death Thursday in the first Texas execution of this year, nearly two decades after he poured gasoline on his ex-girlfriend and set her afire. Blue, 48, appeared to accept his fate after the U.S. Supreme Court refused his last appeal.

In 1994, Blue attacked Carmen Richards-Sanders, after finding her with another man in her apartment, located about 100 miles northwest of Houston. Blue also attempted to torch the man, who survived the attack and would go on to testify against Blue at trial, the Associated Press reported.

Blue, who has long asserted that the attack was nothing more than a prank gone wrong, apologized to Terella Richards, his victim’s daughter, while strapped to a gurney for his lethal injection.

“I never meant to hurt your mama,” Blue said. “If I could change that, I would. ... I hope you can forgive me.”

Richards didn’t comment after watching the execution, only telling reporters: “I can move on with my life. My journey has ended today.”

Prosecutors were able to win a conviction in the case by proving Blue drank malt liquor and smoked crack behind a convenience store before deciding to fill a 7-Eleven Big Gulp cup with gasoline and walk to his former girlfriend’s house. He was overheard telling Richards-Sanders, “I told you I was going to get you,” before covering 40 percent of her body in flames.

“I did something wrong, and now I’m paying the ultimate justice,” the Daily Mail of London quoted Blue as saying. “It may be crooked justice, but I forgive those people. Hang on. Cowboy up. I’m fixin’ to ride, and Jesus is my vehicle.”

Blue was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m. local time. Blue leaves behind two children, who were 6 and 7 when he was convicted, and said that despite being locked up, he tried to teach them the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol, the influence of which Blue blamed his crime on.

Blue wanted to be buried in a cowboy hat and boots, according to the Eagle in Bryan, Texas. “Don’t put me in no suit -- I’m not going to no wedding,” he said.

The Texas execution came on the same day as Georgia carried out the death penalty for Andrew Allen Cook, who was convicted of killing two Mercer University students as they sat in their car near Macon. After randomly choosing his victims, Cook fired 14 shots with an AR-15 rifle and five shots from a 9-millimeter Ruger handgun into their vehicle.

“The murders were completely random,” Reuters quoted court records in his case. “Cook did not know the victims, and there was no interaction between Cook and his victims before he killed them.”