Robert Pruett, a Texas inmate convicted in the death of a prison guard, was executed Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his lawyers’ attempts to halt the punishment, the Associated Press reports. Pruett was given a lethal injection for the fatal attack on corrections officer Daniel Nagle in 1999 at a prison southeast of San Antonio. Nagle was repeatedly stabbed with a tape-wrapped metal rod, though an autopsy showed he died from a heart attack that the assault caused. Prosecutors said the stabbing stemmed from a dispute over a peanut butter sandwich that Pruett wanted to take into a recreation yard against prison rules.
In a final statement, Pruett, 38, said, “I’ve had to learn lessons in life the hard way. One day there won’t be a need to hurt people.” Pruett was already serving a 99-year sentence for a neighbor’s killing near Houston when he was convicted in Nagle’s death. He became the 20th prisoner put to death this year in the U.S. and the sixth in Texas, which carries out the death penalty more than any other state. Texas executed seven inmates last year. Pruett avoided execution in 2015 when a state judge said additional DNA testing could be conducted on the rod used to stab the 37-year-old Nagle.