US states of Missouri, Florida execute two couple-killers

Two Americans were executed Wednesday, one in the state of Missouri and the other in Florida, each for the murder of a couple.

William Rousan, 57, who was convicted of killing a farm couple while trying to steal their cows, was declared dead by lethal injection shortly after midnight in Bonne Terre, Missouri, said Mike O'Connell, spokesman for the state's department of public security.

Rousan was sentenced to death for plotting and carrying out the September 1993 murders of Charles Lewis, 67, and his wife Grace, 62. The double murder was not discovered until a year later.

According to the indictment, Rousan took his son Brent and his brother Robert to the Lewis farm to steal a herd of cows. When Charles Lewis spotted them, Brent Rousan killed him with six shots.

Lewis' wife, hearing gunfire, came out of the house and was herself shot to death. Their bodies were found a year later in a shallow grave that had been covered in cement, near the home of William Rousan.

In September 1994, police were tipped off by Rousan's brother-in-law, who told them he was involved in the double murder, and by Rousan's sister, who sold the victims' stolen VCR.

The son of the murdered couple, Michael Lewis, watched Rousan's death by lethal injection, but said he drew "no real satisfaction from Mr. Rousan's incarceration or execution, for neither can replace or restore the moments lost with my parents."

On Wednesday evening Robert Hendrix, 47, was put to death by lethal injection in Florida for murdering his cousin and his cousin's wife.

He was declared dead at 6:21 pm (2221 GMT), the Orlando Sentinel reported.

It added that as a last meal he ate pork chops, sausage gravy, biscuits, German chocolate cake and soda.

Hendrix was sentenced to death in the killing of Elmer Scott, with whom he had previously carried out a burglary. Scott had later testified against Hendrix and pleaded guilty. Hendrix also killed Scott's wife.

The executions were the 18th and 19th performed in the United States this year.