A Texas man was executed Wednesday for killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, her 7-year-old son and her unborn baby after fearing his wife would find out about his affair.
Fox News reports Stephen Barbee, 55, died by lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville; he was convicted in 2005.
Barbee initially confessed to the crime, but later said his confession was coerced and he was innocent. Before he died, witnesses said he mentioned his faith in God and told the warden to send him “home,” according to the report.
Authorities said the Texas man killed Lisa Underwood, 34, of Fort Worth, her son Jayden, 7, and her seven-month unborn child in February 2005 and then buried their bodies in a shallow grave. The mother and son were suffocated to death, they said.
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Barbee was afraid his wife would find out about his affair with Underwood because she was pregnant, authorities said. However, DNA evidence later confirmed Barbee was not the unborn baby’s father, according to the report.
Studies have found high rates of violent abuse among pregnant women and women seeking abortions. Homicide is one of the top causes of death among pregnant women, according to a 2021 study in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology.” Sometimes, the abuse is connected to a mother’s refusal to abort her unborn child, although the report did not mention abortion in the Barbee case.
The death penalty is controversial among pro-life advocates, with some believing the punishment is justified in extreme, violent cases to protect the innocent and others believing that every human life must be protected from conception to natural death.