One of the longest-serving inmates on Texas’ death row was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday at 6 p.m., more than three decades after being convicted of fatally shooting four people in 1983.
Lawyers for Lester Bower filed a last-minute appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court last week that faults the sentencing, seeking to prevent the execution by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville tonight.
If the execution proceeds, it would be the 526th death row execution in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.
— The Intercept (@the_intercept) June 1, 2015
Bower, 67, has faced imminent execution six times, according to court documents, and has maintained his innocence. Lawyers have launched multiple appeals questioning his conviction with no incriminating fingerprints found at the crime scene, no murder weapon recovered, and no witness to the murders.
Bower was found guilty of killing contractor Bob Tate, former police officer Ronald Mayes, sheriff’s deputy Philip Good and interior designer Jerry Brown in a deal for $4,000 ultra-light airplane that went bad, Reuters reported.
Prosecutors said Bower killed Tate to steal the airplane Tate was selling and then killed the other three men when they showed up unexpectedly at the hangar.
Investigators said they found parts from Tate’s airplane at Bower’s residence and that he had made calls to Tate previously. They said Bower, who also sold firearms, had acquired a gun and exotic ammunition similar to that used in the shootings.
“I bought it, I just can’t prove it,” Bower said. “They can’t prove it was stolen and I can’t prove I bought it.”
Defense lawyers argue that other men involved in a failed drug deal were responsible for the quadruple homicide.
“Not cooperating with authorities was the biggest mistake, and I paid for it with my life,” Bower said. “Someone is going to have to pay for the lives of those four men, and right now, I’ve drawn the short straw.”