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Thursday, October 9, 1997

Texas executes suspected serial killer Ricky Lee Green

By MICHAEL GRACZYK / Associated Press Writer

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A convicted serial killer tied to four murders in Texas and suspected of at least eight more deaths was executed Wednesday for a sexual mutilation slaying almost 11 years ago.

Ricky Lee Green, 36, was pronounced dead at 6:31 p.m., seven minutes after a dose of lethal drugs was released into his right arm.

In his final statement, Green thanked "the Lord above," his friends and his fellow death-row inmates. He also noted that he had been in prison for 8-1/2 years, the last seven on death row, and caused no trouble.

"I feel I'm not a threat to society no more," he said, speaking quietly and slowly. "I feel my punishment is over and now my friends and family are being punished."

Green addressed four relatives of his victims, who watched through a window a few feet away, and said he was "really sorry, but this to me is another killing and it's not going to solve nothing.'

As the lethal solution took effect, he gasped several times before he stopped breathing. Only one needle was used on Green instead of the customary two. Prison officials were unable to locate a suitable vein in the left arm of the longtime drug user.

Green, a one-eyed radiator repairman portrayed by prosecutors as a psychopath, was condemned for the Dec. 27, 1986 death of Steven Fefferman, an advertising executive with Fort Worth television station KXAS.

Fefferman, 28, was castrated and repeatedly stabbed with a butcher knife at his home after he and Green had sex on a nearby beach, according to testimony at Green's trial. The murder occurred on Green's 26th birthday.

"He's more than deserving of his execution," Danny LaRue, the Fort Worth police detective who obtained the confessions from Green, said. "He's the best candidate I know in the criminal justice system.

"He's real cold. When I finally got through with the confessions and asked him why he killed these people, his reply was: ÔThey all deserved it. They were kind of the dregs of society.' "

Green declined to be interviewed on death row but did agree to have his picture taken.

"I'm ready to meet my maker," Green last week told a photographer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The execution was the 31st this year in Texas, adding to what already is a record year for capital punishment in the state. Nationally, Green was the 58th condemned killer put to death this year, the most active year for executions in the United States since 1957, when 65 took place.

Green was sentenced to life prison terms for two other killings in 1985.

Jeffery Davis, 16, of Lake Worth, was castrated and stabbed like Fefferman in April 1985. His nearly decapitated body was found in a swamp at the Fort Worth Nature Center.

Sandra Bailey, 27, of Fort Worth, who met Green in a country-western bar in November 1985, died from stab wounds and hammer blows to the head. Her body was dumped in a ditch.

He also confessed to killing 28-year-old Betty Jo Monroe of Amarillo, a topless dancer who was hitchhiking in Fort Worth in October 1985 when she was picked up by Green. When found dead in a remote area of Wise County, she had been stabbed, mutilated and beaten in the head with a hammer. That 1985 case was dismissed in exchange for confessions to the Bailey and Davis slayings.

Defense attorneys said Green suffered serious mental disorders growing up because of prolonged abuse from his father.

LaRue, now retired and working as a private detective, said eight other unsolved murders in North Texas bear Green's trademarks.

"His signature is all over these other crimes," LaRue said. "We know he did them but we just can't prove it.

"He's not going to acknowledge them. It bothers me, but I don't know what else to do about it."

When arrested, Green was carrying an old driver's license belonging to an out-of-state woman. Contacted by authorities, the woman told of being assaulted eight or nine years earlier by a man with a glass eye, LaRue said. Green as a child lost the use of one eye in an accident involving barbed wire.

"That gal described Ricky to a T," LaRue said. "And he kept her driver's license as a souvenir in his billfold for all those years.

"What other cases he may have done over a long span of time out of state, or in other areas of Texas, I have no idea," the detective added. "But he traveled extensively through the United States. Wherever there is an unsolved murder with his peculiar trademark of sexual mutilation and multiple stabbing, he's a possible suspect if he was out and about at that time. He's a legitimate serial killer, no doubt."

Green, an eighth-grade dropout, wasn't charged with Fefferman's death until his wife went to police in April 1989.

Sharon Green was convicted of the Monroe death and pleaded guilty to the Bailey murder and received 10 years probation. She told authorities she participated in the slayings on orders from her husband and did so because she feared for her own life.

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