Texas Execution Information Center

Gary Sterling

Gary Lynn Sterling, 38, was executed by lethal injection on 10 August 2005 in Huntsville, Texas for the abduction, murder, and robbery of a man from his home.

In May 1988, Sterling, then 20, was spotted stripping a car. The car belonged to William Porter, 72, who, along with his brother, Leroy, 70, had been beaten to death earlier that night. Sterling eluded capture that night, but was arrested the next day, hiding in his attic.

While in jail for the Porter murders, Sterling stated that he wanted to confess to another crime. He led authorities to the bodies of John Carty, 72, and Deloris Smith, 52, in Navarro County. Sterling confessed that he abducted Carty and Smith from Carty's home, drove them to an isolated field, and beat them to death with a car bumper jack. He stole a car, a television, a shotgun, and a lantern from the home.

Evidence at Sterling's trial indicated that he knew all four of his victims. He sold Carty's car to buy crack cocaine.

A jury found Sterling guilty of the capital murder of John Carty in February 1989 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in April 1992. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

Sterling also pleaded guilty to the Porter murders and received life sentences for both of those convictions. He was not tried for Deloris Smith's murder.

"I wish I could do something to replace your father, your loved one, but I can't." Sterling told Carty's sons in his last statement. "I know this was a heinous crime. I just wish I could get him back." Sterling also asked the chaplain to say a prayer. After the chaplain prayed, the lethal injection was started. "I'll put in a good word for everybody," Sterling said before losing consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m.

By David Carson. Posted on 11 August 2005.
Sources: Texas Attorney General's office, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Associated Press.