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Texas set to execute man convicted of 2001 triple murder

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - Texas is set to execute a man by lethal injection on Wednesday who was convicted of stabbing his girlfriend, her child and her mother to death after a cocaine binge in 2001.

Jose Luis Villegas Jr., 39, is scheduled to be put to death with a lethal dose of drugs after 6 p.m. CDT at the Texas death chamber in Huntsville, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

If his execution is carried out, Villegas would be the seventh person executed in Texas this year and the 17th in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, an organization that tracks executions.

Villegas confessed that the day of the killings he had consumed about $200 of cocaine with his 24-year-old girlfriend, Erida Perez Salazar, at the home she shared with her parents, according to court documents.

After her mother, Alma Perez, 51, ordered Villegas to leave the house, he stabbed her dozens of times with a kitchen knife and then proceeded to a bedroom where he stabbed his girlfriend and her son Jacob, 3, numerous times each, according to court records.

Villegas then left the house and drove off in Salazar's vehicle and sold a television he stole from the home to buy more cocaine, according to court documents.

He had planned to return to the house to kill himself with an overdose of cocaine, but tried to flee when he saw police were already there, according to court documents. He was caught by police after a high-speed chase and foot pursuit.

Texas has executed 514 people, more than a third of all executions in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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