Robert Andrew Lookingbill, 37, was executed by lethal injection on 22 January 2003 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder and robbery of his grandmother.
Some time between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. on the morning of 5 December 1989, Robert Lookingbill, then 24, knocked on the door of Melissa Martinez. Lookingbill lived with his grandparents, Lorenz and Adeline Dannenberg. Martinez rented an apartment nearby. Lookingbill told Martinez that he had just come home and found that his grandparents had been beaten. Martinez and her friend, Alberto Aguilar, followed Lookingbill home and stayed with him while waiting for the police. While Martinez and Aguilar waited in the house, Lookingbill went outside to the tool shed.
Officer Gilberto Alaniz arrived to investigate the crime. He found Mr. and Mrs. Dannenberg both severely beaten and bleeding from their heads. He found no signs of forced entry and no evidence that the house had been ransacked. He noticed blood stains on Lookingbill's boots and jacket. When Alaniz was investigating the tool shed, Lookingbill tried to enter, but Alaniz ordered him to leave the shed. A subsequent investigator discovered in the shed a metal bar that was about 4 feet long and weighed over 20 pounds, on which were blood stains and hair strands.
Lookingbill told Officer Alaniz that he had just arrived at the residence on his motorcycle and found that his grandparents had been beaten. Alaniz touched the motorcycle engine and observed it to be warm, but not hot.
Lookingbill later confessed to beating and robbing his grandparents. He said he first struck his grandfather on the head with the metal bar. "My grandfather did not yell out," Lookingbill stated. "He just groaned in pain." Next, he beat his grandmother. "I hit her on the head with the same pipe," he stated. "She did not yell out." Lookingbill stated that he took the money from Mrs. Dannenberg's purse, called the police, then went to Melissa Martinez' apartment. He said that he took his grandparents' money so he could buy cocaine.
Police found $568.31 in the jeans Lookingbill was wearing on the night of the murder. The blood on Lookingbill's boots and on the metal bar were consistent with Mr. Dannenberg's blood.
Adeline Dannenberg, 70, died in a hospital 10 days later. Lorenz Dannenberg, 77, suffered permanent brain damage. He remained comatose for about a year before dying.
At Lookingbill's trial, Alberto Aguilar testified that when Lookingbill came to Martinez's apartment to announce that his grandparents had been beaten, he sounded insincere. He also testified that when Lookingbill was out in the shed waiting for the police to come, he heard a "metal clinking" noise coming from the shed.
Lookingbill had a prior felony conviction for burglary. He began serving a 7-year sentence in August 1986 and was paroled after 8½ months. (At the time, early release was common in Texas due to strict prison population caps imposed by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice.)
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