In Texas’ first execution of 2016, a man convicted in a fatal strangling and robbery was executed last night, the Texas Tribune reports. Richard Masterson, 43, was sentenced to death for the 2001 strangulation of Darin Honeycutt and served almost 14 years on death row. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court both denied last-minute requests for stays of execution. Masterson's lawyers asked for a new hearing to challenge the constitutionality of a statute that allows the state to keep execution drug manufacturers secret.
The execution was the first of nine scheduled for the first six months of the year, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, with the second scheduled for James Freeman next Wednesday. Thirteen men were put to death by the state of Texas in 2015.