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Texas executes man who killed 17-year-old in 2001 shooting

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man convicted of shooting a 17-year-old outside a nightclub in 2001 was executed on Tuesday, the third person put to death by lethal injection in the state this year.

Ronnie Threadgill ran up and shot Dexter McDonald as he sat in the back seat of a car after leaving a club on April 14, 2001, in Navarro County, south of Dallas, authorities say.

Threadgill then climbed into the car and drove off, according to the state attorney general's account. He later stopped and pulled McDonald out of the vehicle and left him on the ground before driving away. McDonald died at a hospital.

Threadgill, now 40, was convicted of capital murder in 2002. He was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m. CDT (7.39 p.m. EDT), the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a statement.

He was 29 at the time of his trial and had spent most of his adult life behind bars after convictions for burglary, cocaine possession, assault, resisting arrest and theft.

In his final statement, Threadgill said: "I'm going to a better place. I'm ready. Let's go."

He was the third person executed in Texas this year and the eighth in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Eric Beech)