LIVINGSTON, Texas -- Both family and time are heavy on the mind of 41-year-old former South Dakota resident Kevin Scott Varga, who sits on death row in the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.
In just a week, Varga will make what is likely to be his last journey, to Huntsville, Texas, where he faces lethal injection on Wednesday for his part in the murder of a Greenville, Texas, man in 1998.
Varga, along with fellow South Dakotan Billy John Galloway, were sentenced to death row a decade ago in connection with the slaying of Maj. David Lawrence Logie on Sept. 9, 1998.
The two were joined on a road trip by Deannee Ann Bayless and Venus Joy Anderson, also of South Dakota, all participating in the robbery-murder of Logie. The four also were accused, with Varga and Galloway, of the slaying of David McCoy of Wichita, Kan., in 1998.
"I was outvoted," Varga said about how the four ended up in Texas. "We were going on a road trip. I wanted to go north and they wanted to go south. It was three against one."
In a Wednesday interview, Varga stated that he has never claimed to be completely innocent in regards to his part in the murders, but does maintain that he did not actively participate in their deaths.
"I am not saying I am innocent, but I did not take an active part in the deaths," he said. "I don't believe I am a total innocent as that would indicate no culpability at all.
"It was my idea to rob the men, but I maintain that I never intended for anyone to die," he said. "I am guilty in that I did not do anything to stop it."
Criminally negligent homicide, Varga said, would have been a more appropriate charge for his part in the robbery-murder -- a charge that, if convicted, carries a maximum prison sentence of two years in Texas.
"I have served my time four times over now," he said. "This is not even close to being a just punishment for me.
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"It is ironic because Texas considers South Dakota to be a backwater place, yet I find the opposite to be true," he continued. "The moral standings and ideologies of people here are foreign to me.
"The fact that Texas still maintains (the death penalty) with such fervor indicates to me a backwards way of thinking."
While all appeals have run out in Varga's case, there may be one more opportunity for clemency in the works to stop his execution. He gets updates on clemency efforts from his mother, who moved from Rapid City to Texas to be near her son.
"I have friends all around the world praying for me," Varga said. "Many have written petitions on my behalf and have even brought my case to the pope. That the pope knows my name -- that blows me away."
During his 10-year stint on Texas' Death Row, Varga has maintained contact with his family back in South Dakota, which includes two sons: Richard, 18, in Sioux Falls, and Stephen, 20, in Rapid City. A brother also lives in Rapid City and a stepsister lives in Mobridge.
To the families of the Logie and McCoy, Varga said he felt that his death would not bring them justice, but only serve as vengeance for their loved one's death.
"I apologize for the pain and anger," he said. "I know they feel I should die for what they consider to be my actions and what I consider to be my inactions.
"But justice won't be done by my execution, only vengeance," he added. "If my execution were able to bring back their loved one, I'd willingly drop my appeal and bring them back."
Varga's execution will be the eighth death by lethal injection to take place in Texas this year. Galloway, also 41, is scheduled for execution the next day. Bayless and Anderson entered pleas to reduced charges and received lesser sentences.