Local officials view execution

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches County prosecutor, sheriff and Texas Ranger watched Khristian Oliver die Thursday evening in Huntsville. They say it was out of a sense of duty.

"My role here was simply to represent law enforcement in our county that worked so hard in making the case," Nicole Lostracco, Nacogdoches County district attorney said minutes after Oliver was pronounced dead.

"This has come full circle. I was involved in the case from the very start. There's a lot of emotional ties. I know the family," Sheriff Thomas Kerss said.

Both individuals were not office holders at the time of Oliver's arrest, but they played a vital role in the investigation. Unlike the families and other witnesses, they were allowed behind the scenes.

"We were actually back, sort of in the back rooms, where the defendant himself was. Probably a good 20 minutes standing maybe 10 feet from the defendant in his holding cell," Lostracco said.

Then the order came in a frank direct way. "The senior warden of TDC said, "Oliver,it's time." He stood up, walked out of his cell of his own power. He went in. He got up on the gurney, the bed that they lie on. They put the restraints on him, inserted the IV's," Lostracco described.

At one point, Oliver's eyes met Lostracco's. "He was actually lying on the bed. He sort of turned his head and made eye contact with me and that was uncomfortable," Lostracco shared.

Oliver made brief statements to both families. Then it was time to die. "And then he said, "I'm done," and he began reciting the 23rd Psalm. He got about half way through it and then just stopped talking. It was very peaceful to watch. It was very surreal to realize you were watching someone pass away," Lostracco said.

A peaceful ending with such a violent beginning.  "I know what this defendant was capable of and I absolutely had no sympathy for him in that situation," said Lostracco.

The six o'clock hour of death is scheduled to come to at least four other individuals later this month.

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