Peter J. Miniel, 42, was executed by lethal injection on 6 October 2004 in Huntsville, Texas for the robbery and murder of a 20-year-old man.
On 9 May 1986, Miniel, then 23, and James Russell, 21, were at the Houston-area apartment of Paul Manier, 20. Miniel suggested to Russell that they rob Manier. Russell then told Manier that he was going out to his car to get some cocaine. Manier began cleaning a mirror to use for snorting the cocaine. As he was occupied with cleaning the mirror, Miniel came behind him and struck him on the back of the head with a beer mug. He kept hitting Manier until he fell to the ground. Russell then took an automobile shock absorber and hit Manier on the head. When Russell could not knock Manier out, Miniel took the shock absorber and kept beating the victim. Russell then opened a small knife. Miniel grabbed the knife and stabbed Manier several times with it. When this also proved ineffective in subduing the victim, Miniel asked Russell to hold Manier down while he attempted to slit his throat. The knife was dull, however, so Miniel then asphyxiated Manier by stuffing a blanket down his throat. Manier suffered six blunt trauma injuries to his head, 39 stab wounds, and ten cuts.
Next, Miniel and Russell stole the victim's wallet, which contained $20. They searched the apartment for drugs and money, but could not find any, so they took the victim's stereo equipment. They then cleaned the knife and hid it, then went out to eat.
Later, Miniel fled to Indiana, then to Illinois. Miniel was arrested in Chicago two weeks later. Russell was arrested in Brookshire, Texas.
Miniel had a previous felony conviction in Illinois for aggravated battery. He was sentenced to six months' probation. He also had misdemeanor convictions in Illinois for shoplifting and weapons violations.
Miniel was offered a plea bargain in which he would be spared the possibility of execution, but he turned the deal down, preferring instead to go to trial and face a jury. Miniel pleaded innocent, but Russell testified against him. Also, the prosecution showed that some of the victim's stereo equipment was recovered from a neighbor of Miniel's in Chicago.
Continued on Page 2