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Caprock Chronicle: First Execution in Lubbock, TX

Chuck Lanehart’s new Caprock Chronicle covers the first successful execution of a defendant in Lubbock County’s history.

In 1953, Walter Whitaker was an airman at the Reese Air Force Base, now part of Texas Tech and South Plains College, west of downtown. Whitaker initially admitted to killing his girlfriend and soon to be wife after a fit of rage. After citing an “amnesia defense”, where a defendant can’t remember the circumstances of a crime, Whitaker was ultimately convicted of a capital crime, “murder with malice” in the summer of 1953. By fall of 1954 only a few months after being sentenced to death, Whitaker was executed by electric chair in Huntsville, Texas.

After Whitaker, only 9 other men from Lubbock County have been executed, all charged with murder.

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