HUNTSVILLE (KFDX/KJTL) — After two stays of execution since 2019, a death row inmate convicted of murdering a pregnant Wichita Falls woman and her 7-year-old son now has a third execution date set.
Stephen Barbee, 55, has been on death row since February 2006 awaiting execution for the February 2005 suffocation murders of 34-year-old Rider graduate Lisa Underwood and her son Jayden in their Fort Worth home.
After Barbee’s last appeal was rejected, a new execution date is now set for November 16, 2022.
Barbee had been set for execution last October but won a stay from a federal court so his request for a pastor to pray with him and touch him in the execution chamber could be heard. Barbee’s attorney said the denial of this request violated his constitutional freedom to exercise his religion.
Barbee lost the last state appeal of his conviction in 2013.
Prosecutors said Barbee killed Underwood because he thought he was the father of Underwood’s unborn son and he was afraid she would tell his wife. They said Underwood’s son walked into the room while he was killing her and was also suffocated after he tried to defend his mother.
Authorities say Barbee led them to the victim’s bodies in a shallow grave in Denton County.
Barbee won another federal stay of execution in September 2019 for his October date on grounds that his attorney chose to admit his guilt as the best chance to avoid execution, and the defendant has the right to overrule such a decision.