Huntsville, Texas: A Texas man became the oldest man to be executed in the state Thursday for killing three members of his wife’s family in 1989. Billie Wayne Coble, 70, received a lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville.
Billie Coble was convicted of killing his estranged wife’s parents, Robert Vicha and Zelda Vicha, and her brother, Bobby Vicha. He was apparently distraught over his disintegrating marriage to his wife of a year, Karen Coble.
Prosecutors said Billie Coble told his wife he had killed her family when she returned home from work to find her children tied up. He then attempted to kidnap Karen Coble at gunpoint, but he crashed the vehicle he was driving.
During the trial, prosecutors said Billie Coble abused former wives and young girls before the murders.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed Billie Coble’s death sentence in 2007 over changing precedent on how explicitly jurors should weigh mitigating evidence when determining a sentence. Another jury sentenced him again to death in 2008.
Billie Coble was the third person to be executed in the United States and second in Texas in 2019.