Victims' families react to Cobb execution

Cobb Execution: Kenneth Dean Interview

Eleven years after committing a gas station robbery in Cherokee County that ended in kidnapping, sexual assault and murder, 29-year-old Richard Cobb was executed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Cobb was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m. Thursday.

Hours before the execution, Nikki Daniels knew she wasn't in Huntsville for closure.

"The punishment phase is [over] but it will never be over for me," she said. "The physical damage and emotional damage is there and it will be there continually for the rest of my life."

Daniels is one of Richard Cobb's two living victims--with scars that are both physical and emotional.

At the TDCJ Huntsville unit--commonly known as death row--Daniels and her family faced protesters who were fighting against the state's 496th execution.

After 30 minutes inside for the execution the family came outside. They were joined by Kenneth Vandever's family. Cobb murdered Kenneth following that 2002 robbery.

"As far as I'm concerned, justice was served and it's over with but that's all there is to it," Kenneth's father Don said. "I'm glad I don't have to come back."

After Cobb was dead the families opened up.

"I would have liked to have gotten my hands on him," Daniels' father David Ansley said. "That's the truth of it."

"We always look over our shoulder now because now you know what can happen so quick," her mother Melinda said.

The families agreed that a bigger example should be made of the death penalty--so that children understand that crimes have consequences.

"I thought [Cobb] was going to be remorseful," Daniels said. "I thought he was going to be apologetic. I was hoping he was going to address me."

For Daniels, Cobb's last words rang hollow. He said:

"Life is death. Death is life. I hope that someday this absurdity that humanity has come to will come to an end. Life is too short. I hope anyone that has negative energy towards me will resolve that. Life is too short to harbor feelings of hatred and anger. That's it."

Even though Cobb didn't ask, Daniels said he's forgiven.

"Whenever it was his last breaths he turned my direction and was not looking directly at me but was looking my way where he could see me and I'm glad that he did," she said. "I'm glad that I was probably the last visual he saw before he died."

No one showed up at the execution to support Cobb. His partner in that robbery-turned-murder, Beunka Adams, was executed on April 26, 2012.


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