Twenty-five years after his conviction for the death of an elderly Morris County man, Texas death row inmate Billy Joe Wardlow just became the third person to be executed in the Lone Star State this year.
Executed and pronounced dead at 6:52 p.m. July 8 by lethal injection at the Walls unit in Huntsville, Wardlow had hoped for Governor Greg Abbott to halt an execution order for 30 days after the parole board denied a request voting 6-1 on July 6. Executions were temporarily halted in Texas earlier this year due to the pandemic.
On June 14, 1993, according to court records, Wardlow and his co defender and former girlfriend Tonya Fulfer entered the home of 82-year-old Cason resident Carl Cole who lived on County Road 1207 at the time. Wardlow said he intended to rob Cole, but instead also fatally shot him once between the eyes with a .45 pistol he stole from his mother. The two fugitives then wrapped Cole’s body in a bedspread, placed it in a bedroom closet and fled in Cole’s brand new pickup truck. From there, the pair fled Texas and ended up in Nebraska a day later after trading the truck for a 1987 Mustang convertible . They were apprehended soon after and returned to Texas.
Convicted of capital murder in a Titus County courtroom in 1995, Wardlow and his attorneys have argued that, because of his age, 18 at the time of the murder, he was too young to fully understand his actions and should not receive the death penalty. According to reports, Fulfer received 10 years probation
Earlier this year, Wardlow was to be executed April 29, but the order was delayed due to COVID-19 outbreak.
According to prison reports, Wardlow chose not to give a final statement before his death.