Thursday, June 12, 2008
A remorseful convicted killer was executed Wednesday night for the rape and slaying of a woman in Dallas 17 years ago, the first Texas prisoner in nearly nine months put to death in the nation's most active capital punishment state. Karl Eugene Chamberlain, with a big smile on his face, addressed relatives of his victim, staring directly at the son, parents and brother of Felecia Prechtl as they stood just a few feet away, looking through a glass window.
Chamberlain said he understood if his victim's relatives would like to hurt him, but he wanted them to know it was his memories of her and her life that contributed to his remorse.
"I love you. God have mercy on us all," he said as the drugs began taking effect. Still grinning, he blurted out: "Please do not hate anybody because ... "
He was unable to finish as he slipped into unconsciousness. Nine minutes later at 6:30 p.m. CDT, he was pronounced dead.
"One question I ask myself every day. Why does it take so long for justice to be served?" Prechtl's mother, Ina, said after watching Chamberlain die.
Chamberlain lived upstairs in the same apartment complex as his victim but denied any knowledge of the crime when questioned by police the day of the 1991 slaying. He was arrested five years later after his fingerprint was matched to a print on a roll of duct tape used to bind Prechtl. Chamberlain's prints had been entered into a database after he went on probation for an attempted robbery and abduction in Houston.
When he was arrested in Euless in suburban Dallas, he confessed.
"It was just total terrible bad luck," Chamberlain said, describing the slaying in a recent interview on death row. "Not that my actions were luck, but bad luck that I didn't get interrupted and stop." [Mark Godsey]