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Texas to execute man for 1994 fire killing of ex-girlfriend

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The state of Texas was due to execute a man on Thursday for killing his former girlfriend in 1994 by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire.

Carl Henry Blue, 48, was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Thursday night unless a court intervened to grant a stay of his execution.

Blue was convicted of killing ex-girlfriend Carmen Richards-Sanders, 38, in her apartment in Bryan, Texas, on the morning of August 19, 1994, as she was getting ready to leave for work.

His execution would be the first carried out in Texas this year and the second in the United States.

A separate execution that had been scheduled for Thursday in Georgia has been put on hold by that state's Court of Appeals.

According to court records in the Texas case, Blue threw open the door to Richards-Sanders' apartment, tossed gasoline on her and another man who was in the home at the time and set the two of them ablaze with a lighter.

"I told you I was gonna get you," Blue said to Richards-Sanders, according to a court summary of the case.

The male victim survived his injuries, but Richards-Sanders died 19 days later due to organ failure caused by burns over 40 percent of her body.

After turning himself in to police, Blue claimed the incident was a prank and said he did not intend to kill his ex-girlfriend, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

But prosecutors said Blue had exhibited violent behavior towards other women, including a sexual assault of one former girlfriend and a beating of another when she was eight months pregnant.

In Georgia, attorneys for death row inmate Andrew Allen Cook, 38, sought to block his execution by arguing the state's method of lethal injection violated state and federal law.

Cook was convicted of fatally shooting two Mercer University college students in 1995. A state appellate court granted him a stay of execution on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by David Beasley in Atlanta; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Pravin Char)

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