IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the last living members of a notorious group of former fugitives will be executed in Huntsville on Thursday.
Patrick Murphy was one of the Texas 7 prison escapees convicted for the murder of Irving Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins during a crime spree on Christmas Eve 2000.
In his final interview before he enters the death chamber, Murphy told CBS 11 his life should be spared because he was on the other side of the building when the fatal shots were fired. However he does blame himself for being where he is and says he doesn’t want anyone to think he’s innocent.
“I’m not challenging the guilt of the crime,” said Murphy.
The 57-year-old has been on death row for 17 years for the murder of Officer Hawkins.
“My role was basically really to be the getaway driver,” he said.
Murphy and six violent convicts broke out of a South Texas prison and together headed back to his hometown of Irving where they donned fake security guard uniforms and collected an arsenal of firearms by robbing a sporting goods store on Christmas Eve.
“I didn’t even realize shots had been fired for probably 10 or 15 minutes,” he said.
Murphy was in a getaway car in front of the store when the other escapees were confronted in the back by the officer who was shot 11 times.
“Im sorry. I regret what occurred,” he said.
Murphy was sentenced to death like the other five surviving escapees when they were captured a month later, but because he didn’t fire shots, Murphy believes he doesn’t deserve to die.
“I don’t think sentencing and culpability about law of parties is about justice. I think it’s about vengeance,” he said.
Murphy’s prosecutor says he should be executed because he tipped off the others the officer was coming.
“He in a sense led Aubrey Hawkins to the ambush that took his life,” said Bill Wirskye, who prosecuted Murphy.
Prosecutors also say Murphy’s own words after being arrested suggest he would have fired on the officer if given the opportunity.
In his handwritten confession, Murphy told authorities that his “…purpose was to if pursued by the police I was to initiate a firefight with the AR-15.”
A bill in the Texas Legislature filed by Republican Rep. Jeff Leach from Plano would prohibit death sentences for accomplices if they are unaware a murder will happen.
Murphy laughs in the face death while that bill is being debated.
“I’m not really afraid of death,” he said. “I’ve accepted that I’m really at peace with it. Do I want to die? Not necessarily, but I don’t wanna spend the rest of my life the way I am right now.”
Only one other member of the Texas 7 remains on death row.
Murphy acknowledged his chances for a last-minute Supreme Court stay of execution are “very, very slim.”