February 3, 1998 — Karla Faye Tucker is executed

On June 14, 1983, Karla Faye Tucker participated in a break in, which was intended to steal various items belonging to a Jerry Dean. Dean wouldn’t sit still and let himself be robbed, which led Tucker to kill him. When she realised that another person, Deborah Thornton, was also present in Dean’s house, she murdered Thornton too. Tucker was swiftly convicted of murder, and was sentenced (unusually for a woman in Texas) to the death penalty.

But a prison cell conversion to Christianity, Tucker’s gender, claims that she had been under the influence of drugs at the time the crimes were committed, and a series of appeals meant that she spent almost the next fifteen years on Death Row, hoping to have her sentence commuted, or even to be exonerated (a retrial was sought for her on more than one occasion). She was executed by lethal injection on February 3, 1998, the first woman to be executed by the State of Texas in 135 years.

As mentioned in:

Faye Tucker — Indigo Girls

February 3, 1959 — Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper die in a plane crash

The facts, as generally agreed upon, are these:

At approximately 1AM on February 3, 1959, Holly, Valens and Richardson (‘the Big Bopper’) boarded a plane in Clear Lake, Iowa, intending to fly to their next concert, in Moorhead, Minnesota. The three, flown by pilot Roger Peterson, were killed a short time later when their plane crashed.

The major cause of the crash appears to have been a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error. Peterson was not qualified for nighttime flights, and it also appears that he may have been given incorrect information regarding the weather conditions on that fateful night.