Texas death row inmate's son arrested for outburst during father's execution
By Keri Blakinger
February 28, 2019
Billie Wayne Coble's son pounded on the execution chamber windows, cursing and shouting "no" as he watched his father die.
It was just after 6:20 p.m., and the 70-year-old triple killer was about to become the oldest Texan executed in the modern era of capital punishment.
The aging Vietnam veteran who murdered his in-laws in an apparent rash of vengeance offered a only a short final statement before he was pronounced dead, according to the Texas Department of Criminal
It was a dramatic and unexpected end to a decades-long saga.
Back in the summer of 1989, Coble was distraught over the disintegration of his third marriage when he kidnapped his estranged wife and killed her parents and brother before attempting to kill himself.
But the Waco man, now 70, had no priors and, as he racked up years of good behavior in prison, his attorneys argued that a pair of experts for the state got it wrong at trial when they offered testimony claiming he'd be a future danger even behind bars.
"That Coble will be executed on such discredited testimony is unconscionable," Brian Stull, an ACLU attorney who previously handled the case, wrote two days before the execution. "The example of his case already shows all who are willing to look why the death penalty is never justice, and why it should be abolished once and for all."
Raised in an orphanage, Coble went on to serve in Vietnam as a machine gunner involved in combat. Afterward, his sister said he came back "different," according to court records, and he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder.
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