Inmate condemned for fatal robbery set to die
Updated: 2006-10-19 14:36
LIVINGSTON, Texas - A man convicted in the shooting death of a
27-year-old gas station worker is to be put to death Thursday night by lethal
Condemned prisoner Michael Dewayne Johnson insists he was not the gunman. He
said a companion, David Vest, fired the fatal shot.
"I never even saw the dude," Johnson said, referring to shooting victim Jeff
Vest blamed the shooting on Johnson, took an eight-year prison term in a plea
bargain and testified against his friend, who is set for lethal injection
Thursday evening in Hunstville. Vest is now free.
Johnson, 29, who was 18 at the time of the slaying in September 1995, would
be the 22nd Texas inmate executed this year and the first of five scheduled to
die over the next five weeks.
Crawford Long, an assistant district attorney in McLennan County, said the
men shot Wetterman because they could not pay for the gasoline they had pumped
into the stolen car they were driving.
"I guess Johnson was afraid if they drove off he'd get the license number and
then police would be looking for them," Long said. "They didn't have money to
pay for the gas and he just shot him in the head and killed him."
Another condemned inmate, Gregory Summers, is set to die
next week for what authorities said was masterminding a murder-for-hire scheme
in 1990 that left three people - his parents and an uncle - fatally
stabbed at their Abilene home. The man convicted of carrying out the killings,
Andrew Cantu, was executed in 1999.