Husband who murdered wife after she filed for divorce is executed

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John Steven Gardner was executed in Huntsville Wednesday night, Jan. 15.

In January 2005, Gardner murdered his wife Tammy Gardner. Tammy filed to divorce Gardner only days before. After days of threatening messages about the divorce, Gardner drove from Mississippi, broke into Tammy's home, and shot her. 

After he shot her once in the head and fled the scene, Tammy called 911, identified Gardner as the man who had shot her, and had left in a white Ford with Mississippi plates. Tammy died later in the hospital.

Gardner borrowed the Ford from his brother-in-law along with a .44 Magnum handgun. The weapon had one spent round, the same caliber as the fatal gunshot wound. Evidence connecting Gardner to Tammy's murder was found in the Ford.

Gardner had a long history of violence against women. He shot his pregnant second wife, who later died from the injuries. After serving time in prison for her death, Gardner was released and later abducted his third wife at knifepoint and savagely beat her daughter. 

He also sexually assaulted one of his step-daughters. Gardner was convicted of Tammy's murder in 2006 and sentenced to death.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim," said Collin County Criminal District Attorney Greg Willis. "Despicable abusers like this keep us vigilant in our pursuit of justice for victims of domestic violence and their children."