|43-year-old is executed for robbery and slaying|
|By Associated Press|
Not long after his victim's relatives forgave him, an apologetic Lonnie Wayne Pursley was executed Tuesday for the robbery and fatal beating of an East Texas man.
In his final statement, Pursley thanked the family of Robert Earl Cook of Livingston for a statement delivered to him shortly before he was taken to the death chamber.
"I'm very grateful for your forgiveness," he said. Cook's sister, between sobs, replied, "We forgive you."
"I've got Jesus in my heart. I'm sorry for any pain I've caused," he said. Pursley, 43, then turned toward his own witnesses and expressed love to them. Pursley thanked fellow Death Row inmates for their support.
Pursley was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m. Pursley became the sixth Texas prisoner executed this year. Two more are to die this month.
Cook's nephew, Jamie Hollis, said in the relatives' statement that while they forgave Pursley and "cannot gain joy from another human being losing his life," it was more important that Pursley ask for forgiveness "from our Father in heaven that determines where we spend eternity."
Court documents indicate that in 1997 Cook was driving on U.S. 59 near Shepherd, in San Jacinto County, and gave a ride to Pursley, who had left a gathering at his mother-in-law's house after getting into an argument with his wife.
Cook's badly beaten body was found about a week later in a wooded area at the end of a dead-end road about 2 1/2 miles from his home in Polk County. Nine days later, Cook's blood-spattered turquoise car was found in adjacent San Jacinto County.
At Pursley's trial, witnesses testified they saw him driving a car matching Cook's, that the car had blood on the inside and outside and that Pursley's clothes were bloody.
DNA evidence on a cigarette butt in the ashtray of Cook's car was used to link Pursley to the vehicle.
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