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Texas to execute inmate convicted in 1990 murder and rape

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas inmate Rickey Lewis is scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday for murdering a man in 1990 and then raping the dead man's fiancée.

A dozen Texas convicts are scheduled to be executed before the end of July. Texas has executed more people than any other U.S. state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 and last year put 15 people to death.

If Lewis' lethal injection is carried out on Tuesday evening, it would be the second execution this year in Texas and the sixth in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

He was convicted of shooting to death George Newman, 45, while burglarizing Newman's home in East Texas.

After the shooting, Lewis, then 28, raped Newman's fiancée and stole her vehicle, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The fiancée later climbed out of a bathroom window and drove to a store to call police, according to the department.

DNA analysis showed that Lewis' blood and semen matched traces found at the scene, according to an account of the case from the state attorney general's office.

Lewis already had a long criminal record, including a conviction for assaulting an 18-year-old who had gotten in the way of his attempt to burglarize her family's vehicles.

Lewis has claimed that he has mental disabilities, and those claims delayed a 2003 execution date, but his execution was later rescheduled.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Scott Malone and Alden Bentley)

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