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Danielle Simpson - Texas Death Row - Scheduled Execution
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Start : Thursday 19 November 2009, 0:00
End : Thursday 19 November 2009, 0:00

Danielle Simpson - Texas Death Row - Scheduled Execution - November 18, 2009


Victims: Geraldine Davidson

The Crime: On January 26, 2000, Simpson and three codefendants went to the home of an 84-year-old woman, taped her mouth with duct tape, tied her hands and feet, put her in the trunk of her vehicle, drove to the Nueces River, tied a rope with a block to her and threw her in the river, causing her death.

News: HUNTSVILLE Palestine native Danielle Simpson, who earlier this year requested that his execution be expedited, was put to death Wednesday night, almost 10 years after murdering 84-year-old Geraldine Davidson.

The 30-year-old Simpson was pronounced dead by a Texas Department of Criminal Justice physician at 6:32 p.m., nine minutes after a lethal dose of chemicals had been administered.

Simpson, who was 20 at the time of the murder, gave a brief final statement.

"Yeah, I want to tell my family I love ya'll," said Simpson, strapped to a gurney. "Tell (attorney) Kate (Black) I love her too. Tell brother, my kids I love ya'll. I'm gonna miss ya'll. I'm ready, ready."

Simpson made no comment to the victim's family.

TDCJ officials said Simpson requested four pieces of fried chicken, gravy and biscuits and milk for his final meal.

The high school dropout became the 22nd person to be executed in Texas this year.

Simpson's execution came after a series of last-ditch efforts by his attorneys, David R. Dow and Katherine C. Black of the Texas Defender Service, to halt the execution.

Simpson's attorneys maintained their client suffered from a "debilitating mental illness" and possessed "diminished intellectual functioning," rendering him incompetent to be executed under federal law.

Five members of Davidson's family, including her three adult children, witnessed the execution.

Davidson was a retired Palestine schoolteacher who volunteered as organist at her local church.

Two of Simpson's sisters also witnessed the execution, in addition to a Herald-Press reporter.

Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe, former Anderson County crime victims' coordinator Renee Moore and former Anderson County district attorney's investigator Joe Willis were in Huntsville, supporting Davidson family members.

"I don't get any pleasure out of the execution of Danielle Simpson," Lowe said at a press conference following the execution. "...This was a case that deserved that punishment.

"He was a person who showed no remorse for his victim," the district attorney continued, "and had many opportunities throughout the day to spare her life and didn't."

As they had in the days leading up to the execution, Davidson family members declined comment on Simpson's execution.

"They felt like their mother had suffered enough indignity about how all this happened," Lowe said.

Moore also spoke on behalf of the Davidson family.

"They were prepared for this," Moore said. "They're very strong people. This gives them an opportunity to move on from this point."

Simpson was convicted of the January 2000 murder of Davidson by a Henderson County jury in December 2000 after his attorneys successfully sought a change of venue.

During his trial, testimony showed that Simpson and three other Palestine youths kidnapped Davidson from her South Sycamore Street residence on Jan. 26, 2000 and paraded her around in the trunk of her vehicle before tossing her into the frigid waters of the Neches River with her hands bound behind her back and a cinder block tied to her ankles.

The youths were burglarizing Davidson's residence when she arrived home during the late morning hours of that day, authorities have said.

Authorities have said eight-to-10 people at separate locations in Palestine and Grapeland were shown Davidson's body in the trunk of her own car prior to her death, but did not notify police.

A passing motorist traveling on U.S. 79 between Palestine and Jacksonville notified authorities on Jan. 27, 2000 after observing a body in the river.

Testimony during Simpson's trial indicated Davidson was alive at the time her body was placed in the river sometime during the night hours of Jan. 26, 2000.

Simpson's co-defendants in the case included his younger brother, Lionel Simpson; his wife, Jennifer Simpson; and a male cousin who was 13 at the time of the murder and has completed his sentence.

Lionel Simpson, who was 15 at the time, was tried as an adult and is currently serving a "capital life" sentence, while Jennifer Simpson pled guilty after the start of her August 2000 trial in Cherokee County and was sentenced to life in prison.

Jennifer Simpson will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years of her sentence, according to Lowe.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a pair of requests filed by Danielle Simpson's attorneys one asking that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison and the other alternatively requesting a 180-day reprieve to allow for further litigation of his case.

On Tuesday, Danielle Simpson's attorneys filed a postconviction writ of habeas corpus; a motion for a stay of execution; and a motion asking Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Sharon Keller be recused from any participation in the case.

The motion alleged the judge "has made disparaging remarks about TDS" in the past, which they said compromises "her ability to rule impartially in a case involving a party represented by the TDS."

Last Meal:
Four pieces of fried chicken, gravy and biscuits and milk.

Final Statement: "Yeah, I want to tell my family I love ya'll," said Simpson, strapped to a gurney. "Tell (attorney) Kate (Black) I love her too. Tell brother, my kids I love ya'll. I'm gonna miss ya'll. I'm ready, ready."

Simpson made no comment to the victim's family.

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