Gregory Lynn Summers, 48, was executed by lethal injection on 25 October 2006 in Huntsville, Texas for hiring the murder of three members of his family.
Around midnight on 11 June 1990, Abeline firefighters discovered three bodies in a burning house. Mandell Eugene "Gene" Summers, his wife, Helen, and his brother, Billy Mack Summers, had all been stabbed to death. The telephone line to the house was also cut.
On 15 June, police were contacted by Keenan Wilcox. Wilcox said that an acquaintance of his, Gregory Summers, then 32, tried to hire him to murder his parents and mentally retarded uncle and to burn their house down. He said that Summers offered to pay him from insurance money and cash in the house.
On 19 June, another tipster called the police. This man said that his brother, Andrew Cantu, 22, told him that he was hired for $10,000 to commit the murders, but he didn't receive the money.
At Cantu's trial, Ramon Gonzales, 19, and Paul Flores testified that they agreed to commit a burglary with Cantu. According to their testimony, Flores cut a hole in a back window screen and crawled into the house. By the time they crawled inside, Cantu was already stabbing Gene Summers, who was lying in bed. Cantu threatened to kill them if they attempted to leave, then proceeded to the living room to stab Helen Summers, who was sleeping in a recliner. Cantu ordered Gonzales and Flores to search the home for the $10,000 that Summers promised to leave for them in a dresser drawer, then he proceeded to a front bedroom, where he stabbed Billy Mack Summers. Gonzales and Flores then told Cantu that they couldn't find the money, so he ransacked the house looking for it, to no avail. Cantu then doused the bedroom with lighter fluid and set it on fire. As they drove away, Cantu ordered Flores to get rid of the knife. Flores threw the murder weapon out of the car window. A woman found it while mowing her lawn.
Prosecutors alleged that Summers stood to collect $24,000 in life insurance from the death of his parents. At his trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Summers had previously collected insurance payoffs from fires at his grandmother's house and a vehicle.
Numerous relatives and acquaintances testified about Summers' difficult relationship with his father and about his many threats to kill him and burn his house down with him in it. Witnesses also testified to his history of violence against his family, including kicking his first wife in the stomach when she was pregnant, beating his second wife, holding a gun to her head, and forcing her to beg for her life on her knees, and beating his sons.
Continued on Page 2