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With hours to live, killer cheats the executioner

LIVINGSTON, Texas (AP) -- A convicted killer facing lethal injection beat the executioner to it Thursday, committing suicide by slitting his throat and arm with a blade in his Texas death row cell 15 hours before he was supposed to die.

Michael Dewayne Johnson, 29, was found in a pool of blood by officers making routine checks on him every 15 minutes, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Johnson apparently scrawled words in blood on the wall of his cell, but prison officials would not say what he wrote.

He is at least the seventh condemned man in Texas to take his own life since death row reopened in 1974.

No other prisoner has killed himself so close to his scheduled execution time. In 1999, a death row inmate took an overdose of prescription drugs. He was hospitalized, then executed two days later.

Johnson had been set to die for the 1995 slaying of Jeff Wetterman, 27, gunned down at his family-run gasoline station and convenience store near Waco


hes a kill joy:)

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/10/19/deathrow.suicide.ap/index.html

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