By Brendan O'Brien
(Reuters) - A 42-year-old man was executed in Alabama on Thursday, more than 20 years after he was convicted along with his friend of killing the friend's father, the father's fiancée and her two children after a dispute over the use of a pickup truck.
Michael Samra was put to death by lethal injection at 7:10 p.m. CDT at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement.
"I want to thank Jesus for shedding his blood for my sins. Thank you for your grace, Jesus. Amen," Samra said in his final statement, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Samra was convicted in 1998 of four counts of murder and sentenced to die. Samra and his friend Mark Duke were accused of killing Duke's father, Randy, along with Randy's fiancée, Dedra Hunt, and her daughters who were 6 and 7 years old.
Samra, Duke and two of their friends were accused of planning to kill the four after Duke got into a heated argument with his father about the use of Randy's truck.
Prosecutors said Samra and Duke went on March 23, 1997, to Duke's house in Pelham, Alabama, where they shot and killed his father and Hunt and used a kitchen knife to slit the throats of the two girls.
David Collums and Michael Ellison, the two friends, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the killers. They were sentenced to 16 years in prison and were released from prison in 2013, local media reported.
Duke was sentenced to death in 1999. His sentence was changed to life in prison without parole because he was 16 at the time of the murders, local media reported.
Samra, who was 19 at the time of the killings, asked the U.S. Supreme Court this week to halt his execution because of his age when the crimes were committed. The court denied the request.
Samra and convicted killer Donnie Johnson, who was put to death in Tennessee on Thursday, were the sixth and seventh inmates executed in the United States in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, an organization that tracks executions in the United States.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney)