Coble file

Billie Wayne Coble has been on death row since 1990 and is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a last-minute request for a delay.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied requests Tuesday from Billie Wayne Coble to delay his execution scheduled for Thursday or to reduce his death sentence to a life prison term.

Coble, 70, remains scheduled for execution by lethal injection Thursday in Huntsville.

Coble was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die in the 1989 slayings of his brother-in-law, Waco police Sgt. Bobby Vicha, and Vicha’s parents, Robert and Zelda Vicha, at their homes in Axtell. He has had several stays of execution over the years, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his request for another stay of execution last week.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Coble in October, which prompted Waco's 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson to set his execution date. Court officials said they expect a similar outcome should Coble file an 11th-hour request for a stay of execution through the federal court system.

Jurors convicted Coble after evidence was introduced stating Coble was upset at the failure of his third marriage. He then killed the Vichas, tied up four children and kidnapped his estranged wife, Karen Vicha Coble.

Coble drove his estranged wife to Bosque County, where he said he was going to rape and kill her. Before he could carry out the threat, he crashed his vehicle during a high-speed chase with authorities.

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Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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