Daniel Acker is shown in this undated photo.
(Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP, File)
A Texas inmate was executed Thursday evening for fatally running over his girlfriend in a jealous rage more than 18 years ago. It was the state’s second execution in as many days.
Daniel Acker was convicted for the March 2000 killing of Marquetta George of Sulphur Springs. Prosecutors said he ran over George with his truck in the countryside of the northeast of Texas because he believed they were unfaithful to him.
Asked by the director if he had any final statement, Acker replied: “No, sir.”
He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, then slightly exhaled as the lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital began with effects. There was no extra movement. He was pronounced dead 14 minutes later, at 6:25 pm
Acker does not acknowledge the presence of George, the brother of Christopher Follis, who watched through a window a few meters away from him.
Follis declined to talk with reporters after witnessing the punishment. Acker had no friends or relatives present.
The U. S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Acker’s attorneys on Thursday afternoon. They had argued Acker was innocent of capital murder because his 32-year-old girlfriend of the fatal accidents were due to her decision to jump out of his truck after he kidnapped her. A similar appeal was rejected earlier this month by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
The 46-year-old Acker was the 18th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the 10th was given a lethal injection in Texas, the nation’s busiest death penalty state.
Acker was also the second Texas prisoner put to death in two days. Troy Clark received a lethal injection Wednesday for torturing and drowning an East Texas woman in his bathtub and then stuffing her body in a barrel. The executions of Acker and Clark were the first time in the almost six years that Texas put to death prisoners on consecutive days.
At least eight other Texas prisoners scheduled execution dates in the coming months.
On the Acker trial, multiple witnesses testified he was in a heated discussion with george in a Sulphur Springs nightclub the night before her death about his suspicions she was sleeping with another man. The authorities said that the following day, Acker forced George kicking and screaming into his pick-up truck. A witness later saw Acker pull George’s body out of his truck and lay her on the ground.
In a petition to the Supreme Court, the Acker of the attorney, Richard Ellis, said the conviction was based on what he describes as a “now discredited” theory that Acker strangled George, while he was driving.
Ellis said prosecutors, in their theory of George died after a prosecution expert testified at a post-conviction hearing in 2011 that they died from injuries after being run over.
On the Acker trial, a medical examiner testified that George had severe injuries all over her body and her neck injuries were consistent with strangulation. But the medical examiner could not determine whether strangulation or blunt force caused George’s death. The autopsy report did conclude that a number of George’s injury may be the result of “an impact with or ejection from a vehicle.”
“From the moment that Daniel turned himself in to the authorities, he said that the victim Markie George jumped out of the truck,” Ellis said. “He has the full responsibility for the kidnap her and repents.”
In its response to the Acker Supreme court a petition, the Texas Attorney General’s Office argued the theory that the Acker walked over to his friend, was presented at the trial to jurors.
“Acker produces no new evidence that he has not committed the crime, but continues to claim that George’s death was the result of her leap from the vehicle — a theory rejected by the jury at the time of trial,” the attorney general’s office said.
Several witnesses testified at mr. Acker’s trial that he made several death threats against George in the hours before her death.
In 2017 a ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the prosecution of the theory of George’s death was “largely based on strangulation.” But in denying Acker’s appeal, the 5th Circuit held that all of the data, including the updated cause of death, still supports the prosecution of the case, as it was presented in the indictment and process.