Tracy Gee, 22, worked late Sept. 5, 1990 at the club where she was an assistant manager. Lionell Rodriguez wanted to rob somebody just to be cool like in the movies. He passed up more difficult targets and picked out the young woman alone in her car at 2 a.m. He shot her in the head with his M-1 rifle and stole her car. Just punishment for this crime was finally carried out yesterday, nearly 17 years later. Rosanna Ruiz has this story in the Houston Chronicle before the execution, and this one after.
"You have every right to hate me. You have every right to want to see this," [Rodriguez] told members of Tracy Gee's family, who looked on from behind a window in Texas' death chamber. "I wasn't going to apologize by letter. I wanted to apologize face to face, eye to eye. None of this should've happened."
Opponents of the death penalty say it is degrading. I don't think so. Even a killer like Lionell Rodriguez can achieve a certain degree of dignity by accepting his responsibility and his punishment in his final moments.