A Texas man became the first inmate executed this year in both the state and the country on Wednesday.
John Gardner, 64, received a lethal injection for the January 2005 killing of Tammy Gardner, his wife. Prosecutors said that Gardner had broken into her home as the couple was getting divorced and shot her in the head.
When asked by the warden if he had a final statement, Gardner apologized to his wife's son, daughter, and mother.
"I would like to say sorry for your grief," he said. "I hope what I'm doing today will give you peace, joy, closure, whatever it takes to forgive. I am sorry. I know you cannot forgive me, but I hope one day you will."
He also told several friends watching that he loved them, apologized again, and then asked the warden to begin.
"I want to see the Lord Jesus so bad," Gardner said.
Gardner was given a lethal dose of sedative pentobarbital. He was declared dead at 6:36 p.m., 16 minutes after the injection.
🔦 Seven other executions are scheduled in Texas over the next few months.