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Member of "Texas Seven" Executed

Donald Keith Newbury, 52, who was part of the "Texas Seven" gang of prison fugitives, was executed Wednesday night for the 2000 murder of an Irving police officer.

Death row inmate Donald Newbury.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Newbury's execution.

A member of the notorious "Texas Seven" gang of prison fugitives, whose 2000 prison break was the largest in state history, was executed Wednesday night for the murder of an Irving police officer.

A final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, and Donald Keith Newbury, 52, was pronounced dead by lethal injection in Huntsville at 6:25 p.m. for the capital murder of Officer Aubrey Hawkins.

"That each new indignity defeats only the body. Pampering the spirit with obscure merit. I love you all, that's it," were Newbury's last words according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Newbury was serving a 99-year sentence for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon out of Travis County when he and six other inmates staged a brazen escape from the John B. Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas, on Dec. 13, 2000, after overpowering 14 prison employees.

The group, which had taken 14 revolvers, a shotgun, a rifle and more than 200 rounds of ammunition from the prison, made it first to San Antonio, then headed east to Pearland, where they robbed a Radio Shack store the following day. Among the items taken were police radio scanners.

On Dec. 19, they checked into a Dallas-Fort Worth area motel using assumed names, and from there they plotted the burglary of an Oshman's Sporting Goods store in nearby Irving.

On Christmas Eve, the inmates broke into the store and tied up the staff as they moved to steal some 40 guns and ammunition and $70,000 in cash.

Hawkins, 29, had just finished Christmas Eve dinner at a restaurant with his family when he got the call about the break-in at the store, which was nearby. The officer was ambushed as soon as he arrived by the inmates. He was shot 11 times, pulled out of his patrol car and run over by the gang as the fugitives escaped.

A national manhunt ensued, and tips came pouring into police after the group had been spotted in Woodland Park, Colorado. On Jan. 23, 2001, the gang was arrested but not before one of the seven, Larry Harper, committed suicide.

Newbury was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2002.

Michael Rodriguez was the first of the seven to be executed, in 2008. George Rivas, the group's mastermind, was executed three years ago.

Three others remain on death row: Larry Garcia, Patrick Murphy and Randy Halprin.

Newbury has spent most of his life in prison and jail. He was paroled in 1985 and again in 1992. In 1981, Newbury and two other inmates attempted to escape while they were held at the Travis County Jail by attacking two guards, according to the Texas attorney general's office. 

Newbury told The Associated Press in 2003 his trial was "a farce" and said he regretted not testifying.

"We're not the Hannibal Lecters people believe," Newbury told the AP.

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Courts Criminal justice Death penalty Texas Department Of Criminal Justice