Newton Burton Anderson, 30, was executed by lethal injection on 22 February 2007 in Huntsville, Texas for murdering a couple while burglarizing their home.
On 4 March 1999, Anderson, then 22, burglarized the Tyler home of Frank and Bertha Cobb. While Anderson was in the house, the Cobbs came home and caught him in the act. Anderson bound both victims' hands and feet with electrical tape and put them on the floor, face down. Using the Cobbs' shotgun, Anderson shot Frank, 60, in the head at close range. He stripped Bertha, 65,* from the waist down, covered her mouth and nose with electrical tape, and raped her. He also strangled her and shot her numerous times in the head. After murdering the Cobbs, Anderson resumed stealing from their home, then set the house on fire. He fled in the couple's car.
Anderson then drove to the trailer park where he lived with his brother-in-law's nephew. He asked for help unloading clothing and other items, then left. When Anderson returned, he told the nephew that he abandoned the car behind a building off the highway. Officials later discovered the vehicle in the location that Anderson described.
At Anderson's trial, witnesses testified seeing him drive away in the Cobbs' maroon Cadillac. Other witnesses testified that Anderson, who typically had no money, was seen the night of the murders wearing expensive clothing, buying rounds of drinks, and paying generously for a car ride.
Anderson had a prior conviction for burglarizing a home in February 1995. He was sentenced to eight years' probation. When Anderson committed four more burglaries in less than three months, his probation was revoked and he was sent to prison. He was paroled in December 1998. He had been on parole for about three months when he murdered the Cobbs. Anderson also had previous convictions for assault causing bodily injury in a 1994 domestic violence case, and for theft in February 1995. He also had a juvenile record in California.
While in jail, awaiting trial, Anderson obtained a hacksaw blade and used it to cut through an air vent in his cell. During a pre-trial hearing in the courthouse, Anderson cut through his leg restraints with a razor blade and escaped. He also attempted to bribe a correctional officer to leave his cell door unlocked.
*These are the victims' ages as reported by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. According to the Associated Press, Frank was 71 and Bertha was 61.
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