/Death-row inmate says cryptic last words before fight breaks out at execution

Death-row inmate says cryptic last words before fight breaks out at execution

A Texas death-row inmate who was executed Thursday for killing his estranged wife’s family nearly 30 years ago, uttered cryptic final words before he died.

“That’ll be five dollars,” Billie Wayne Coble, 70, reportedly said — although what he meant by the remark was unclear. He told the five witnesses in attendance to “take care,” according to reports.

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Coble’s cryptic remark was likely a reference to his nickname, “$5 Bill,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

As Coble was finishing his statement, his son, a friend and a daughter-in-law became emotional and violent. They were yelling obscenities, throwing fists and kicking at others in the death chamber witness area.

Officers stepped in and the witnesses continued to resist. They were eventually moved to a courtyard and the two men were handcuffed.

“Why are you doing this?” the woman asked. “They just killed his daddy.”

Coble received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the August 1989 shooting deaths of Robert and Zelda Vicha, the parents of his estranged wife, and their son, Bobby Vicha, a police officer, at separate homes in Axtell, northeast of Waco.

While the witnesses were being subdued outside, the single dose of pentobarbital was being administered to Coble. He was pronounced dead 11 minutes later at 6:24 p.m.

He gasped several times before he began to snore.

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Coble, once described by a prosecutor as having “a heart full of scorpions,” was the oldest inmate executed by Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.