HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A paroled murderer convicted of killing a police officer during a Dallas shooting spree 11 years ago was executed by injection Wednesday.
Daniel Joe Hittle, 50, was accused of killing five people on Nov. 15, 1989, including a 4-year-old girl. He was tried only in the slaying of Gerald Walker, 48, a 17-year police veteran who had pulled Hittle over for speeding.
Hittle was freed from a Minnesota prison in 1984 after serving 11 years of a 30-year term for killing his adoptive parents. Authorities said the couple was fatally stabbed after Hittle became enraged because he believed their dog scratched his truck.
The execution was the second of three scheduled for this week and the 39th this year in Texas, adding to the state's record total.
Michael Radelet, chairman of sociology at the University of Florida and the keeper of a database on U.S. executions, said the total is the most carried out by a state in American history.
The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center said Texas had equaled the highest in a state since 1862, when 39 American Indians were hanged by the military on a single day in Minnesota.
Later Wednesday, a man who was convicted of killing five members of his girlfriend's family was executed by injection in Virginia.
The execution of Christopher Goins, 27, was the eighth in Virginia this year and the 81st in the state since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976.
According to testimony, Goins fatally shot the parents and three siblings of his 14-year-old girlfriend because she was pregnant.