Texas Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, April 17, 2008, 12:17:51 AM

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heidi salazar

"That's way too many cases and would not leave time for any other cases, particularly capital cases," said Stephen Bright. He is an expert in capital case representation who has taught at Yale and Harvard law schools and reviewed the newspaper's findings."

Hey the way I see it; YUP if you are a minority...illegal....or just plain stupid, IT WOULD REALLY BE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST not to commit a capital crime!!! But then what do I know??


Perry's 200th Execution Sparks Worldwide Protest

Dozens of death penalty opponents gathered on the steps of the Texas Capitol Tuesday evening to protest the 200th execution under Gov. Rick Perry, which was scheduled for 6 p.m.

Perry's approval of the execution of Terry Lee Hankins marks the highest number of executions performed by any governor in American history. Hankins, who shot his wife and child in their sleep, has previously described himself as a "non-caring monster."

Austin's protest took place in conjunction with similar protests taking places in the country and around the world, including Houston, Albuquerque, Liepzig, German and Paris, France.

The Austin protestors, holding signs and placards, crowded the Capitol's entrance along Congress Avenue. A symbolic "burial" took place where 200 candles were placed one by one in a cardboard coffin. The names of each person executed, and the crime they had committed was announced at the sound of a bell.

Alexis Konevich, a philosophy senior at St. Edwards University and intern for the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said executions were ethically and morally wrong and do not support her personal moral beliefs.

"By the standards of our Constitution, I believe it is cruel and unusual punishment," Konevich said.

Scott Cobb, president of the Texas Moratorium Network said the protests, organized by anti-execution organizations, served to demonstrate that people are opposed to the use of the death penalty in Texas.

"Texas just executes more people than other states," Cobb said. "When you travel abroad, and you say you are from Texas, the 1st thing that comes to mind is executions and maybe cowboys."

Cobb said he would be protesting outside the Huntsville prison where Texas executes those on death row.

"I think that people will have an effect on public opinion and policy makers," Cobb said. Kristin Houlé, the director for the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, who was present at the Capitol's protest, said as people become more educated on the topic and understand the complexity of the practice, support for the death penalty is starting to wane.

"You can't help but feel a sense of sadness for the lose of life on both sides," Houlé said 6 minutes before Terry Hankins was scheduled to die.

(source: University of Texas Daily Texan)

I'm not sure if this has been posted yet  :-*


I'm not sure if this has been posted yet  :-*

You could use the search function to find it out...  ;D  ;D  ;D Sorry, couldn´t resist.  :-*

I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


HAHA I did... but the last time I did that and found nothing!  :P


The number of people on death row continues to climb and still there is no quick trac to the gurney.  I don't understand confessed murderers living for 30 years while courts decidied if they should be executed.  I am especially exasperated over confessed child killers and policemen's killers.  They deserve only one trial, one appeal, and one sentence!


I think you´re wrong kubsch1, this year moe texan inmate shad been executed that new inmates sended on the row.

I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


I agree with Michael.  If you are sentenced to death in Texas, you will almost undoubtedly die by lethal injection.  This is not California, where a death sentence typically involves death by natural causes.
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.


I agree with Michael.  If you are sentenced to death in Texas, you will almost undoubtedly die by lethal injection.  This is not California, where a death sentence typically involves death by natural causes.

If you look at the Tx DP site, you will see " offenders no longer on death row". There have been lots of commutations over the years. There are offenders that are still on death row, from as early as 1974. I agree that Tx is the most active DP state, however nobody is executed without years and years of appeals.




Kevin watts was on D.R. for 5 years before he was executed. That is pretty damn fast. Terry Hankins sat for 9 years. There are many more that were executed within 10 years. So I say that Texas is pretty damn fast at executing people. As far as people from the late 70's, they will be there as long as people on Cali death row. Obviously new DNA techniques and bad lawyers, and other things will keep them there far too long.


June 08, 2009, 07:10:36 AM Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 07:19:25 AM by gabenga
Texas improved the appeal process during the last years. The time between sentence and execution wil be much shorter than the time for the "old" inmates. As far as I know a lot of the delay tactics won´t work in the actual cases.

I checked Jeffs list with the 2009 death sentences (great work). Texas has 4 "new" death sentences and 3 resentenced to death. The resentenced ones donßt count in my eyes, because these are not really new death  sentences. At least Henkins was the 16th inmate executed by Texas in 2009. 
No need for bashing Texas.  ;)

I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


June 08, 2009, 07:25:13 AM Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 07:27:48 AM by Moh
Since Texas began offering LWOP as an option for juries in capital murder cases, the number of death sentences has decreased. If you look at the Texas DOC website, you'll see that, over the past few years, the number of new arrivals on death row has been exceeded by the number of inmates who have been executed. In other words, Texas's death row is shrinking every year. Moreover, as Gabenga and Roadkill have noted, newer cases are actually getting to the death chamber in five or six years due to relatively recent laws that have limited habeas appeals. However, some of the much older cases continue to linger because older procedural rules apply which allow for greater delays.



3 Texas death row inmates lose at Supreme Court
By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press
Nov. 2, 2009, 10:28AM

HOUSTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court has refused appeals from three Texas death row inmates, including one set to die this month.

The high court Monday refused to review the case of 45-year-old Gerald Cornelius Eldridge, facing execution Nov. 17 for the fatal shootings of his former girlfriend and her daughter in Houston almost 17 years ago.

The justices also rejected appeals from 37-year-old Rigoberto Avila, sent to death row for stomping his girlfriend's baby to death nearly 10 years ago in El Paso, and from 40-year-old John Balentine, condemned for the slaying of three teenagers in Amarillo almost 12 years ago.

Balentine won a reprieve from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September a day before he was scheduled to die.


Humble death row inmate wins new punishment
Associated Press
Nov. 18, 2009, 2:27PMShare  Print Share Del.icio.usDiggTwitterYahoo! BuzzFacebookStumbleUponThe Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ordered a new punishment trial for a death row inmate condemned for fatally stabbing a Houston-area man.

Authorities say Brian Davis also inscribed a swastika and initials of a skinhead group on the body of 31-year-old Michael Foster.

The appeals court says Davis is entitled to a new punishment hearing because of improper instructions given to a Harris County jury that condemned him for the August 1991 murder at Foster's apartment in Humble, northeast of Houston.

Davis blamed his now-ex-wife, Tina McDonald, for stabbing Foster 11 times and beating and robbing him and using a pen to inscribe on Foster a swastika and the letters "NSSH" -- which stood for National Society of Skinheads.





By MICHAEL GRACZYK  / Associated Press

In another case Wednesday, the appeals court rejected the mandatory appeal of Antonio Lee Williams, 29, condemned for the August 2006 slayings of cousins Yolanda Styles and Vincent Williams in Houston. Styles, 22, and Vincent Williams, 18, were Hurricane Katrina refugees who settled in Dallas. They were in Houston to visit Styles' mother when they were caught in a drug-related shooting spree.

Authorities also linked Antonio Williams to at least three other slayings.


heidi salazar

Harris County loses state lead in executions
Texas prison records show effect of 2005's life-without-parole option

Long the state's leader in sending convicts to death row, Harris County has fallen behind both Bexar and Tarrant counties in the number of death sentences it imposes, an analysis of eight years of records shows.

Texas' final death sentence of the year came eight days before Christmas for inmate Jerry Martin, condemned for slaying a 59-year-old female prison guard by ramming her horse during an escape attempt in Walker County.

Martin's case brought Texas' total to a historic low of nine new death sentences in 2009 -- including cases scattered around the state but none from Harris County.

Since a new life-without-parole law took effect in 2005, Harris County -- with a national reputation for pursuing capital punishment and home to the fourth-largest city in America, with a population of nearly 4 million people -- has sent fewer inmates to death row than Tarrant or Bexar counties, urban counties that include Fort Worth and San Antonio, respectively. Tarrant County's population is about 1.7 million; Bexar's is 1.6 million, U.S. Census records show.

Bexar and Tarrant each sent eight newly convicted killers to death row in the four years since the law took effect, state prison data show. In the same period, larger Harris and Dallas counties sent six apiece, based on the Chronicle's analysis of Texas Department of Criminal Justice death row arrivals.

Those tallies don't include killers, five in Texas in 2009, who remained on death row after their convictions or sentences were overturned on appeal but who were later resentenced to death.

Texas was the last of the nation's 35 death penalty states to adopt life without parole as an alternative in capital cases. The law offered a legal guarantee to jurors and prosecutors alike that convicted killers sentenced to an isolation cell in lieu of an execution chamber could never be freed.

Statewide, only about 50 inmates have been added to death row since the law took effect Sept. 1, 2005. In contrast, from September 2001 to September 2005 -- the four years before the law was enacted -- 90 were sentenced to death.

The post-life-without-parole decline in death sentences exceeds 40 percent.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, attributed long-term declines in death sentences to a "broader change" in public opinion driven by recent death row exonerations.

"While Texas' 2005 life-without-parole law may have driven down death sentences even further, the fact is that death sentences have been steadily dropping throughout the country this decade," he said.

Texas remains the center for U.S. executions, carrying out 24 of the nation's 52 in 2009, the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center reported Dec. 18.

But California led all states in imposing 29 death sentences and executing none. Its death row population stands at 697.

Experts agree that the life-without-parole option has affected both Texas prosecutors' decisions to seek death and juries' decisions to impose the death sentence. But its effect appears to vary from case to case and place to place.
Supreme Court rulings

One 2009 death sentence came in February for Raul Cortez, who pretended to be looking for a lost puppy in 2004 and then brutally executed four people in a suburban McKinney home. But a sentence of life without parole went to another man who killed three members of a family on their remote farm near Pampa in 2005, after a Lubbock jury deadlocked over his proposed death sentence in October.

Roe Wilson, a prosecutor who has long overseen death row appeals for Harris County, agreed the state's life-without-parole law likely has reduced death sentences. But she also cited recent Supreme Court rulings that banned executions of those convicted for murders committed before age 18 and of mentally impaired offenders with low IQs who meet certain criteria.

Williamson County prosecutor John Bradley, who heads the Texas Forensic Science Commission, argues that widespread turnover in prosecution offices statewide, including in Dallas and Harris counties, likely played the greatest role in recent reductions in death sentences.

No one disputes Texas' life-without-parole law has had another, more measurable impact.
Welcome to 'life row'

Already, the 4-year-old law has created a kind of "life row" -- a perpetual population of convicted killers and accomplices who can never win reductions in their sentence regardless of behavior, youth , mental deficiency or other factors. This group appears to be growing faster than death row itself.

Texas' death row population stands at 332, TDCJ data show.

As of Nov. 30, a total of 226 inmates were serving life without parole.




Nine Texas men were sentenced to death in 2009:

Jerry Martin: Walker County (tried in Leon County). Killed a 59-year-old prison guard.

Fabian Hernandez: El Paso County. Killed ex-wife and her friend.

Demontrell Miller: Smith County. Fatally beat his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.

Paul Devoe: Travis County. Murdered two women as part of a six-person, two-state homicidal rampage.

James Broadnax: Dallas County. Shot and killed two men.

Armando Leza: Bexar County. Robbed and killed a disabled woman.

Christian Olsen: Brazos County. Broke into a home and murdered a woman with a metal bar.

Erick Davila: Tarrant County. Opened fire at a birthday party, killing a 5-year-old girl and her grandmother.

Raul Cortez: Collin County. Killed a family of four in a home invasion.

Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Death Penalty Information Center, news reports and interviews.

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