Marcus Bridger Cotton, 29, was executed by lethal injection on 3 March 2004 in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of a 27-year-old man.
On 18 September 1996, Cotton, then 21, and Lawrence Watson were riding bicycles through a Houston parking lot. They were both armed with pistols. They spotted two men, Sean Caruthers and Gil Epstein, walking toward their cars. Watson first approached Caruthers, put his .38-caliber pistol to his head, and robbed him of his cash. Caruthers then drove off to call the police. Meanwhile, Cotton pulled his 380 pistol on Epstein and demanded money from him. Epstein told Cotton that he had no money, but he did have an expensive snow board in his car. Cotton then put Epstein into the back seat of his car and began going through his wallet and glove compartment.
After he called the police, Caruthers returned to the parking lot. There, he saw Cotton in the front seat of Epstein's car, and Watson sitting on his bicycle. In an effort to ward off the robbers, Caruthers began honking his car horn and flashing his headlights. Watson then aimed his pistol at Caruthers, but did not fire. Cotton shot Epstein twice in the head.
Next, Cotton got on his bicycle and began riding towards Caruthers. Caruthers drove his car into Cotton and knocked him down. He managed to escape on foot. Watson also escaped.
At his trial, Cotton claimed he was innocent and that he was not at the shooting scene, but Watson, Caruthers, and Carla Chisholm, a security guard, all testified that they witnessed Cotton shooting Epstein.
Lawrence Watson testified that when Caruthers began honking his horn, Cotton ordered him to shoot him. He aimed, but then he heard a shot come from behind him. He testified that he thought Cotton had shot at Caruthers, but then turned and saw Cotton still in Epstein's car. He then saw Cotton shoot Epstein again.
Epstein was an assistant district attorney in Fort Bend county, and carried a gold badge in his wallet. That badge was found at Epstein's feet. Several people testified that Cotton told them he decided to kill Epstein after he discovered the badge in his wallet.
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