ELLIS I PRISON UNIT — Condemned killer Danny Ray Harris said on Wednesday that God didn't let him grieve for his brother, Curtis Paul Harris, who was executed July 1 for a murder-robbery the pair committed more than 14 years ago.
"I wanted to cry, but God wouldn't let me," Harris said during an interview on death row. "It was like he was assuring me that Curtis was alright, that Curtis was at peace, that Curtis was with him out of this world."
Harris faces death by injection shortly after midnight tonight. If Harris is executed, he and Curtis Harris would be the first brothers executed in Texas since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.
Harris' appeal has been denied by a state district court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The appeal was pending Wednesday in a Houston federal district court.
His attorneys also have asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute his sentence to life in prison.
Harris said he tried to comfort his brother the day he was executed.
"I was trying to give him as much strength and courage and peace as possible," Harris said of his hour-long visit with Curtis Harris on June 30, "When you love your brother, you want to be assured that he is strong, that he is at peace, that he has courage and that he is alright.
"I did tell him several times I wish I was the one with the [execution] date instead of him, that they would take me and not you."
Harris, 32, and Curtis Harris, 31, were twice convicted of killing and robbing Timothy Merka in the so-called "Good Samaritan" murder.
The brothers killed Merka and stole his truck after Merka stopped to help the Harrises fix their stalled car on Sandy Point Road in December 1978.
According to testimony, Danny Harris help Merka down while Curtis Harris hit Merka several times in the head with a tire tool.
Harris has maintained that he and his brother didn't kill Merka and weren't present when Merka died. As in previous interviews, Harris declined to say where and Curtis Harris were when Merka died.
"It's not even an issue to me," he said. "There's nothing you can do to stop me from being put to death, if that's God's will."
Harris was calm and relaxed on Wednesday, the same demeanor he displayed during interviews before his Dec. 19, 1991, and Sept. 30, 1992, execution dates.
"I don't concentrate on dying, worrying about dying," he said. "The thought of dying is worst than the act of dying."
"If it happens, it happens. When God calls us all, it's time to sail on.
"My life isn't about me," Harris said. "I'm not stuck on my selfish self. No one should be stuck on their selfish self. That's why people are the way they are today.
"All they are concerned about is their selfish self. If it doesn't affect them or their families, they don't give a damn."
Harris was first scheduled to die Dec. 19, 1991, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the execution. The 5th Circuit lifted the stay on May 8, 1992, and Harris was set for execution Sept. 30, 1992.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 29, 1992 stopped Harris' execution while it considered another Texas death penalty case that could have affected Harris' appeal.
Justices on the high court denied Harris' appeal Wednesday, and Judge John Delaney set Harris' third execution for Friday.