'Death Row Express' by Tracey Walsh

The State of Texas has executed over three hundred people in the past fifteen years. I've been present at more than a hundred of these but tonight will be my last.

Everything runs like clockwork; I've trained this team well and they know I'll be watching them like a hawk - won't want anything to go wrong with this one.

In some ways it's the same as any other execution. The team know their roles and they're efficient and meticulous. No eye contact with the prisoner, not at this stage. Any past empathy or rapport is forgotten now.

But there are some differences tonight that mark out my final involvement as memorable.

Usually there's a few witnesses on the prisoner's side: One or two family members, grief stricken; the guy's attorney, guilt ridden. Not tonight.

The state's side is full of the usual suspects. Are you wondering how people sleep nights after being paid to watch someone put to death? The rights and wrongs of the death penalty are a debate you can have another day.

As the clock ticks down the final moments I swear I can hear the chants of the anti-execution crowd outside the perimeter fence. I curse because one of my last orders to the maintenance crew was to fix that dodgy soundproofing.

But what truly sets this execution apart is the speed it came about. No appeals, no years spent on death row and no last minute reprieve - apparently.

When I found the man who killed my wife and daughter, and shot him in cold blood, I knew it would end here.

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