A Dallas man who was on parole for the murder of his estranged wife when he stabbed and strangled his ex-girlfriend in 1999 was executed last night, the Houston Chronicle reports. The execution of William Earl Rayford, which took 13 minutes to carry out, was delayed more than two hours by a pair of pending Supreme Court appeals, including claims that racially biased testimony tainted his sentencing. With another execution on the calendar for Thursday, this week could be the first time in five years that Texas has seen back-to-back executions so close together. John David Battaglia is scheduled to be put to death. He was convicted of killing his two daughters in 2001 while narrating the slayings to his estranged wife on the other end of the phone.
Two weeks ago, Texas carried out the nation’s first execution of 2018 with the lethal injection of Houston-area serial killer Anthony Shore. Rayford was sent to death row 17 years ago, following the gruesome slaying of Carol Hall. The crime eerily echoed a 1986 killing that netted him a 23-year prison sentence. In the earlier killing, the former glass cutter had stabbed his ex-wife Gail Rayford 16 times, just after she won a temporary restraining order against him. Rayford spent eight years behind bars for the crime, but was released on mandatory supervision under a law that has since changed. In 1999, Rayford slipped into the home of Hall, his ex-girlfriend, stabbed her 12-year-old son and chased the terrified mother down the street.