CRIME

Texas Executes Adam Ward, Man Who Killed City Worker

Ward's lawyers had sought to halt the execution, arguing he suffered from severe mental illness.

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Tuesday executed a convicted killer who repeatedly shot a city code officer inspecting piles of garbage at the death row inmate's former home, a department of criminal justice official said.

Adam Ward, 33, was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. after receiving a lethal injection at the state's death chamber in Huntsville. The execution was the fifth this year in Texas, which has executed more offenders than any state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Lawyers for Ward had filed an appeal to halt the execution, arguing he suffered from severe mental illness.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal about two hours before the execution.

"The crime for which Mr. Ward received the penalty of death was an act inextricable from the delusions and paranoia fed by his disabling bipolar disorder," lawyers for Ward said in a petition filed with the court.

In 2005 in Commerce, about 65 miles northeast of Dallas, city code officer Michael Walker was called out to look at a heap of rubbish that Ward and his father hoarded inside and outside their home, the Texas Attorney General's office said.

The family also hoarded guns, it said.

When Walker approached the property taking pictures of its perimeter, Ward sprayed the city inspector with a hose he had been using to wash his car, and then argued with him, the office said.

Ward then went back in the house to get a gun, and shot Walker, who was 46.

"After Walker fell, Ward shot him again at close range. Walker sustained nine gunshot wounds in total and died," the office said.

Ward confessed to killing Walker shortly thereafter, explaining he believed the city was after his family and was going to tear down their home, it said.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio, Sandra Maler and Bernard Orr)

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