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A jury convicted Ries of capital murder in November 1999 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in June 2002. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Christopher Lee White was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. He remains in custody as of this writing.
"I'm not exactly sure what happened," Ries said in an interview from death row the week before his execution. He said he remembered stealing the pickup, driving to San Antonio and getting high, then driving back. "The next thing I know, I'm sitting in a car, freaking out," he said. "I'd killed somebody." Ries said he was high when he gave his confession to the police.
Ries was apprehensive about dying, but said he had accepted Christ into his life, and was prepared for it. "Life is just a bridge," he said.
"I am really sorry for what I've done," Ries said to his victim's relatives in his last statement. He urged them to find peace through God's salvation. "Standing with Christ in your heart, He can only give you peace," he said. "I pray you can find it. I really do." He then sang parts of two Christian hymns - "Our God Is an Awesome God" and "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High" as the lethal injection was started. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 22 October 2008.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's Office, Associated Press, court documents, public records.