By Corrie MacLaggan
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Thursday is scheduled to execute a man convicted of murder after he and an accomplice robbed an East Texas convenience store in 2002, kidnapping a male customer who was later shot to death and two women who worked there.
Richard Cobb, 29, is due to be put to death by lethal injection after 6 p.m. CDT (2300 GMT) at a state prison in Huntsville. He would be the fourth person executed in Texas this year and the ninth in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Cobb and his accomplice, Beunka Adams, who was executed in 2012 for the crime, entered BDJ's convenience store in Rusk, Texas, armed with a shotgun and wearing masks and demanded money, according to an account of the case from the state attorney general's office.
Cobb and Adams took store clerks Candace Driver and Nikki Ansley Dement hostage along with customer Kenneth Vandever and forced them into Driver's Cadillac, then Adams drove to an open pasture, the account said.
Adams forced Driver and Vandever into the trunk while Cobb held the gun. Then, Adams took Dement to a wooded area and raped her.
Later, according to the account, Cobb fatally shot Vandever and either Cobb or Adams shot the two women, who survived.
"Mr. Cobb has never disputed his involvement in the crimes, but explained that he acted out of fear of Adams, who orchestrated the crimes," says a statement of the case that is included in a court filing by Cobb's lawyer.
Cobb, who was 18 at the time of the kidnapping murder, has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that his death sentence was based on false testimony by a state witness.
(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by David Bailey and Alden Bentley)