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Triple child killer who murdered his daughter in petrol-filled house fire is executed

Raphael Holiday killed his 18-month-old daughter and her two half-sisters in Texas.

Raphael Holiday said
Raphael Holiday said "I love y'all" before he was killed.
Image: AP

A TEXAS INMATE was executed yesterday for setting a fire that killed his 18-month-old daughter and her two young half-sisters at an East Texas home 15 years ago.

Raphael Holiday, 36, became the 13th convicted killer put to death this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state.

Asked by a warden if he had a final statement, Holiday thanked his “supporters and loved ones.”

“I love y’all,” he said. “I want you to know I’m always going to be with you.”

He thanked the warden. As the lethal dose of pentobarbital began, he took two deep breaths and appeared to yawn, his mouth remaining open as he wheezed several times. Then all movement stopped.

Nineteen minutes later, at 8:30 p.m local-time he was pronounced dead.

Holiday never addressed or looked at witnesses, including the children’s grandfather and mother, his former common-law wife. The mother initially stood at the back of the death chamber witness area, watching from behind a corrections officer.

About 10 minutes later, with Holiday motionless on the death chamber gurney, she walked toward a window to see him.

She and other relatives of the slain children declined to speak with reporters afterward.

The punishment was carried out after the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal seeking to halt Holiday’s punishment so new attorneys could be appointed to pursue additional unspecified appeals in his case.

The execution took place about 2.5 hours later than scheduled because of the late state court appeal.

Holiday told The Associated Press recently from a visiting cage outside death row that he didn’t know how the log cabin he once shared with his wife and the children in the Madison County woods about 100 miles north of Houston caught fire in September 2000.

Raphael Holiday Raphael Holiday killed his daughter and two step-daughters by setting fire to their home. Source: AP

“I loved my kids,” Holiday said. “I never would do harm to any of them.”

Evidence and testimony showed Holiday was irate over a protective order his estranged wife obtained after his arrest for sexually assaulting one of the children. Holiday, from prison, contended he knew nothing about the assault.

According to court records, he showed up at the home and forced the girls’ grandmother at gunpoint to douse the interior with petrol. After it ignited, he sped away in the grandmother’s car, hit a police car that arrived outside the cabin and then led officers on a chase that ended two counties away when he wrecked.

Defence lawyers at his trial suggested an electrical problem or a pilot light started the blaze in September 2000. The fire killed Holiday’s daughter, Justice, 1, and her half-sisters, Tierra Lynch, 7, and Jasmine DuPaul, 5.

The girls’ grandmother told a jury she watched Holiday bend down and then the flames erupted, court records show. Jurors convicted him of capital murder and decided he should be put to death.

The lethal injection was the last one scheduled for Texas this year, but at least five inmates have execution dates set for early next year.

Read: Pakistan wants to hang a paraplegic wheelchair user >

Read: “He can rot in hell” – Man who killed girlfriend and her two-year-old with a butcher knife is executed >

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Associated Press

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