John Hummel's Last Words Before Texas Execution

Texas carried out its second execution of the year, putting to death an inmate who killed three family members a decade ago, including his pregnant wife.

John William Hummel, 45, received a lethal injection for the 2009 killings at the state penitentiary in Huntsville on Wednesday evening.

Hummel said a brief prayer while strapped to the gurney in the death chamber.

"Yes, when they lay me down to sleep, for I am to die for justice, the Lord my soul to take. I'll be with Jesus when I wake," he said, according to a prison transcript provided to Newsweek.

His last statement included remorse for the killings. "I truly regret killing my family," he said. "I am thankful for all the thoughts and prayers for my family over the last few days. I love each and every one of you."

He took a half-dozen breaths as the lethal dose of pentobarbital took effect, then began snorting quietly, the Associated Press reported. All movement stopped about a minute later, but his eyes didn't fully close. Hummel was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m. CDT, 15 minutes after receiving the lethal injection.

The authorities said Hummel stabbed his wife, Joy Hummel, 35 times on the night of December 17, 2009, then beat to death his 5-year-old daughter Jodi Hummel and wheelchair-bound father-in-law Clyde Bedford with a baseball bat.

He then set their home, in the Fort Worth suburb of Kennedale, on fire and fled to California. Prosecutors said Hummel, a hospital security guard at the time, killed his family because he wanted to be with a woman he met in a convenience store.

After the killings, he fled to California, but was arrested. He later confessed to the killings, the authorities said.

Hummel was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his wife and father-in-law in 2011. He was not tried for his daughter's killing.

Bedford's brother Cecil Bedford watched Hummel die on Wednesday.

"It was too easy. It was like going to sleep," he told the AP afterwards.

He added that a more severe punishment would have been appropriate for Hummel, like being put to death with "a rope, a guillotine, a firing squad."

"There's all kinds of good stuff to kill people," Cecil Bedford said. "They should get what they deserve. An eye for an eye. I'm sorry. I'm old school."

Executions Delayed by Pandemic

Hummel's execution had been scheduled for March 18 last year, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He's the second inmate put to death since Texas resumed executions in May after almost a year.

Quintin Jones was put to death on May 19 for the 1999 killing of his great-aunt, Berthena Bryant, but experts and death penalty opponents condemned the authorities for going ahead without any media witnesses present.

Last week, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced that an investigation into Jones' execution had found "a culmination of factors" had caused the "preventable and inexcusable" error, including new personnel and procedures. The department said several steps had been taken to ensure that such a mistake doesn't occur again.

The American Civil Liberties Union had called for Hummel to receive a 30-day stay of execution, arguing that putting him to death on Wednesday would be "irresponsible and cruel."

John Hummel executed
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Hummel, who was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of his wife and father-in-law. He was executed on June 30, 2021, at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP

Update 7/1 7.59 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include Hummel's full last statement.