Lawrence Brewer, 44, was one of three men convicted of chaining James Byrd to the back of a pickup truck and dragging him to death down a bumpy asphalt country road near Jasper in 1998. It was one of the most grisly hate crime murders in recent Texas history.
Appeals to the courts were exhausted and no last-day attempts to save his life were filed.
One of Brewer's accomplices was also sentenced to death and is currently appealing that decision. The other got life in prison.
DNA evidence showed Byrd's blood on all three men's clothing.
"One down and one to go," said Billy Rowles, the retired Jasper County sheriff who first investigated the horrific scene. "That's kind of cruel, but that's reality."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.