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On Sept. 2, 2002, Kenneth Vandever and the two women were abducted from a store in Rusk, about 120 miles southeast of Dallas, and taken to a field about 10 miles away. All three were shot and left for dead. Vandever, 37, died, but the women managed to get help.
Cobb was 18 at the time of the attack, on probation for auto theft and a high school dropout. Cobb and his partner, Beunka Adams, were arrested in Jacksonville, about 25 miles away, the day after the crime. It was the latest in a series of robberies tied to them.
Cobb testified at his trial he began using drugs at age 12 and turned to robbery to pay off a drug debt.
Adams was executed a year ago this week for his participation in the slaying.
Vandever had frequented the store in Rusk and would do things like take out the trash. An auto accident had left him with the mental capacity of a child.
Cobb’s trial attorneys unsuccessfully tried to show Adams forced Cobb to shoot Vandever by threatening Cobb. The survivors of the attack said they never heard such threats, but heard Vandever plead that he needed his medication and scream when he was shot.
“Basically, it was an act of compulsion,” Cobb said of the abductions and shootings. He described himself to the AP shortly after arriving on death row in 2004 as “young, dumb and made a mistake.”
“I’m guilty of the crime,” he said.
He told the Jacksonville Daily Progress last month from prison he didn’t want to die “but I’m ready for it.”
At least 11 other Texas inmates have executions scheduled for the coming months, including three in May.
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