Press Centre

Death Row: Countdown To Execution

  • Episode: 

    2 of 2

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 20 Jun 2019
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 25 2019 : Sat 15 Jun - Fri 21 Jun
  • Channel: 

    ITV
The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 11 June 2019.
 
Episode 2
 
“Texas is the execution heart of America. More people are put to death here than in any other state, which is why I am here to talk to those prisoners who are fighting for their lives, and to the people who want them to die. I just wondered what it is like, knowing you are about to die in a week’s time” - Susanna Reid
 
In the second instalment of this new two-part documentary series in ITV’s Crime & Punishment strand, Susanna Reid travels to Texas, home of the most active death chamber in the United States, to meet notorious Death Row inmate Billie Wayne Coble during the countdown to his execution.
 
In 1989, Coble pleaded guilty to triple murder and has been languishing on Death Row ever since, having once been described by a prosecutor as having a ‘heart full of scorpions.’ Now 70 years old, Coble is fighting for a last minute stay of execution. If it fails, he is set to become the oldest man put to death in Texas in modern times.
 
Susanna is granted Coble’s final television interview in the eight-day run up to his death date. During the in-depth meeting, Susanna revisits the night of the crime in an attempt to find out why Billie Wayne committed the brutal murders.
 
Coble had driven to the small town of Axtell in central Texas on the hunt for his estranged third wife Karen Vicha, who was threatening to divorce him. But when he arrived she wasn’t home, so instead he shot dead her brother, father and mother.
 
Delving into his family life, Susanna builds a picture of what kind of man Coble was 29 years ago and what kind of man he is now. She explores with him what it is like knowing when, where and how he is going to die.
 
As Coble’s date with death looms ever closer, Susanna speaks to those affected by the case, including Karen’s nephew JR Vicha. Susanna also spends time with Billie’s only son Gordon and his family as they prepare themselves to witness a loved one condemned to death.
 
On the day of Coble’s execution, Susanna is outside the death chamber, immersed in the intense atmosphere as the hours count down, alongside both those who have waited for this day for 30 years and those closest to him, who are praying that a stay of execution comes at the 11th hour.