HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- A Texas man whose lawyers argued was mentally ill and incompetent for execution was put to death Wednesday evening for killing a 12-year-old girl more than a decade ago.

Jonathan Green, 44, received lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected last-day appeals to spare him. A judge earlier this week stopped the punishment, but an appeals court overturned the reprieve. Then 11th-hour appeals delayed the punishment nearly five hours past the initial 6 p.m. execution time and as the midnight expiration of the death warrant neared.

Asked by the warden if he had a statement from the death chamber gurney, Green shook his head and replied, "No."

But seconds later he changed his mind, saying: "I'm an innocent man. I never killed anyone. Y'all are killing an innocent man."

He then looked down and said his left arm, where one of the needles carrying the lethal drug was inserted, and said, "It's hurting me bad." But almost immediately he began snoring loudly. The sounds stopped after about six breaths.

Green was pronounced dead 18 minutes later at 10:45 p.m.

Green was condemned for the abduction, rape and strangling of Christina Neal, whose body was found at his home in 2000 about a month after she was reported missing. Her family lived across a highway from Green in Dobbin, about 45 miles northwest of Houston.

Christina's parents were among people to watch Green die. They declined to speak with reporters following the execution.

Green's lethal injection is the 10th this year in Texas and the first of four scheduled for this month in the nation's most active death penalty state.

Green's attorneys argued his hallucinations made him ineligible for the death penalty and said a state competency hearing for him two years ago was unfair.

That led to a reprieve from a federal district judge in Houston. But the Texas attorney general's office persuaded the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn that ruling and lift the stay of execution late Tuesday.

Green's lawyer, James Rytting, said his client hallucinated about the "ongoing spiritual warfare between two sets of voices representing good and evil."

The appeals court found the procedures at Green's competency hearing were not improper, that no Supreme Court precedents were violated and that it was reasonable to find Green competent for the death penalty.

Green told a psychiatrist who examined him before the competency hearing that he didn't and couldn't have killed Christina, that false evidence was used against him and that he understood a murder conviction could result in him receiving an injection that would kill him.

Supreme Court guidance says mental illness can't disqualify someone from execution if they understand the sentence and reasons for the punishment, the state lawyers argued.

Green had declined to speak with reporters as his execution date neared.

Investigators questioned Green at least twice in the days following Christina's disappearance 12 years ago. His wallet was found in some woods near clothing and jewelry that belonged to Christina, but authorities found nothing else of significance at the time. A few weeks later, a tip from a neighbor about an unusually large burn pile behind his ramshackle home brought them back again.

While Green had been cooperative in the past, he grew testy and ordered them off his property when an FBI agent looking at the fire site detected the smell of a decaying body and inserted a metal probe into a patch of disturbed earth. They returned hours later with a search warrant and a dog trained to detect human remains.

The dog led officers to the girl's body, stuffed inside a laundry bag in the home and wedged into a corner behind a piece of furniture. Green contended someone else had placed the body there and that he was being set up.

Evidence at his trial indicated he had tried to burn the body, buried it in a shallow grave, then removed it when detectives left to obtain the search warrant. DNA from her remains tied him to the slaying. A carpet fiber from her panties found in the woods was traced to a carpet in his home.

Two years ago, Green came within about four hours of execution before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stopped the punishment amid similar arguments he was too delusional and too mentally ill to be put to death.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • "Young L.A. Girl Slain; Body Slashed in Two" -L.A.'s Daily News

    On January 15, 1947, the remains of Elizabeth Short, were found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. What made this discovery the stuff of tabloid sensation, however, was the Glasgow smile left on the aspiring actress' face--made with 3-inch slashes on each side. This, coupled with Short's dark hair, fair complexion and reputation for sporting a dahlia in her hair, dubbed her "The Black Dahlia" in headlines. What followed was a media circus filled with rumors and speculation about the promiscuous 22-year-old's checkered past. What haunts theorists to this day, apart from the victim's uniquely nightmarish visage, is that the case remains unsolved after some 200 suspects were interviewed and ultimately released--making it one of Hollywood's most lurid legends.

  • "I Am Not Guilty - Thus Lizzie Borden Pleads Before Judge Hammond at New Bedford." -Boston Journal

    <em>"Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. And when she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one."</em> So goes the lurid nursery rhyme to one of the most mystifying crimes of the century. The nature of the deaths of Andrew J. Borden and his wife, Abby, are trumped only by the identity of the alleged perpetrator: their daughter, Lizzie. Inexplicably found "not guilty" in contrast to the era's zeitgeist of swift justice, Lizzie's legacy--guilty or not--has become immortalized as one of the most perplexing cases of parricide in history.

  • "Texas Mother Charged with Killing Her 5 Children" -CNN

    In a case of mother-gone-mad that startled a nation, Andrea Yates, to her few friends and neighbors, was known as a mere recluse suffering from postpartum depression leading up to the birth of her fifth child. That all changed on June 20, 2001, when she snapped, drowning five of her children in their home's bathtub. She was convicted in 2002 of capital murder, carrying a sentence of life in prison with possible parole. As of July 2006, however, a Texas jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity.

  • "Buttafuoco Admits to Sex with Amy Fisher" -New York Times

    Known as the "Long Island Lolita," Fisher became involved with Joey Buttafuoco in May of 1991. Shortly after the two began a sexual relationship (she, 16, while he, 35, was married with two children), his presence and influence in her life became all she cared for. In what he's since denied to this day, Buttafuoco would go on to help an obsessive Fisher plan the murder of his wife, culminating in Fisher putting a bullet in Mary Jo Buttafuoco's head, but failing to kill her. In the highly publicized trial that ensued, Fisher accepted a plea deal for 15 years in prison in exchange for a testimony against Joey, who faced and served out charges of statutory rape.

  • "Murder of a Little Beauty" -People Magazine

    With a face that graced the covers of nearly every news and gossip rag during the winter of '96, it's hard to suggest the death of child beauty pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey had little effect outside the city of Boulder, Colorado. Found dead from a blow to the head and strangulation in the family's basement, coupled with a ransom note left on the staircase asking for $118,000 (conveniently or coincidentally, nearly the same amount Mr. Ramsey received as a bonus that year), as well as no obvious signs of forced entry into the house, the evidence was overwhelmingly stacked against parents John and Patsy, who managed to maintain their innocence throughout the investigation. The case reopened in 2010, but critics cite poor handling of the crime scene as obstructing what remains a mystery regarding the events of that Christmas day.

  • "F.B.I. Joins Probe in Slaughter of 8 Nurses" -Nashua Telegraph

    Tattooed with "Born to Raise Hell" on his arm, Richard Speck made good on his mantra through a history of violence, theft, alcoholism, and spousal abuse, but made his infamy known to all when, on July 13, 1966, he walked into a dormitory armed with a knife. After leaving 8 student nurses dead in his wake, only one, Cora Amurao, was spared--hiding under a bed until 6 a.m. Speck was found guilty of murder and died of a heart attack in prison. As one of the most press-worthy crimes of the decade, the grim events were used most recently as the backdrop for an episode of <em>Mad Men</em>.

  • "Sharon Tate, Four Others Murdered" -Los Angeles Times

    Perhaps the most terrifying figure in American crime to have never actually killed anyone himself, Charles Manson founded a "family" of wayward individuals who hailed him as a prophet. So strong was his manipulation, he ordered, on the night of Aug. 8, 1969, four of his followers to kill everyone at the residence of 10050 Cielo Drive--including Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, and her unborn child. Tate was stabbed 16 times, and her blood was used to write "pig" on the house's front door. The next night, Manson accompanied six of his family to the residence of supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, only to help bind them before ordering their deaths. In 1971, Manson and three of his fellow defendants were found guilty of murder in the first-degree and several other crimes. At the time, it was the longest murder trial in American history, spanning nine and a half months, as well as the most expensive, estimating $1 million. Manson was denied parole for the 12th time in April 2012.

  • "Lindbergh Baby Kidnapped from Home of Parents on Farm Near Princeton; Taken from His Crib; Wide Search on" -The New York Times

    Used as the basis for an Agatha Christie novel (<em>Murder on the Orient Express</em>) and dubbed "the biggest story since the Resurrection" by famed journalist H.L. Mencken, the kidnapping and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh's infant son continues to fascinate theorists today. Charles Jr. was discovered missing from his second-floor bedroom on March 1, 1932, along with a note demanding a then-unimaginable $50,000, igniting a media frenzy like no other. The tabloid pandemonium prompted many tips and leads, but none as concrete as a package containing the boy's pajamas and another message demanding the ransom. After some misdirection from the presumed kidnapper, Lindbergh's child was soon after discovered in the woods along a road near the family residence. Notwithstanding the evidence stockpiled against the easily vilified illegal German immigrant Bruno Hauptmann (who was sentenced), speculation prevails as to the true identity of the caper responsible in this tragic tale of one of America's greatest heroes.

  • "Not Guilty as Sin" -NY Post

    Still fresh in the minds of many and not to easily be forgotten, the trial of Casey Anthony turned Orlando, Florida into anything but the "happiest place on earth." Following a series of lies, misdirection and manipulation by then-22 year old Casey, Caylee's skeletal remains were found five months into the investigation, setting the stage for what could only be described as the most incessantly publicized and shocking trial in recent memory. The media had a field day that went on for months: Highlighting the young, pretty, party girl image used against her in court as the prosecution tore apart an aimless defense--or so it seemed. After resorting to throwing her family under the bus, incriminating people entirely made-up ("Zanny the Nanny"), and fabricating elaborate stories for the police, Casey was found not guilty of murder due to evidence deemed mostly circumstantial and not meeting the burden of "beyond reasonable doubt," inciting much debate regarding whether true justice was served.

  • "An American Tragedy" -TIME

    Known and heralded as the "trial of the century," former football star and actor O.J. Simpson found himself in the middle of the nation's biggest, most-televised trial following the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, but not before fleeing an all-points bulletin in his Ford Bronco with 20 units in tow, interrupting game 5 of the NBA Finals. By enlisting a dream team including Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, and Robert Kardashian, the defense claimed Simpson was merely a victim of police fraud with regard to contaminated DNA evidence, while famously quipping "If it [the glove] doesn't fit, you must acquit." On October 3, 1995, an estimated 100 million people from around the world tuned in to watch the jury hand down a verdict of not guilty, consequently resulting in an estimated loss of $480 million in productivity and inciting an ongoing discussion of race in the judicial system that continues to this day.