HOUSTON, Texas — A Texas serial killer who targeted homeless and transgender women has been sentenced to death for his role in four strangulation deaths.

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, a Harris County jury sentenced 55-year-old Lucky Ward to death after his previous capital murder convictions for the slayings of Reita Long and Charlie Rodriguez in September 2010 — both were found dead within weeks of each other, one on the steps to the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the other covered in blankets in a north Houston home.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg says Ward is also believed to have killed 51-year-old Myra Ical and 62-year-old Carol E. Flood in 2010 and also tied to the death of Birdell Louis in 1985.

All Ward's victims and suspected victims were strangled.

The jury deliberated for five hours before sentencing Ward to death — finding him to be a continued threat to society and rejecting a life without parole sentence option.

“Jurors had the courage to look at all the evidence, give a voice to the victims, and declare that he was the worst of the worst,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Ward tortured and brutalized his victims with no mercy.”

Ward's criminal history dates back to at least 1979 when he was convicted of raping an 83-year-old woman and sentenced to more than two decades in prison. Most recently, Ward was charged in 2018 for having a shank in the Harris County Jail where he was held pending trial.

Ward was Harris County's longest-serving inmate, of approximately 10 years, and is awaiting transfer to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison facility.