[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jul 4 18:38:42 CDT 2004
Beatty Faces Criminal Contempt Charge
A convict, charged with robbing and killing his mother, refused a judge's
orders Friday to provide the state handwriting samples and is now facing
criminal contempt of court charges.
The state will seek the death penalty against Tracy Lane Beatty, 42, whose
capital murder trial is set to begin later this month. He allegedly killed
Carolyn Ruth Click, 62, and buried her body behind their mobile home on
County Road 2323 two days before Thanksgiving last year.
A handwriting expert was called to the courthouse to obtain a sample from
Beatty after the judge earlier ordered he provide one, as requested by the
state. Beatty refused to comply before his pre-trial hearing, then again
when the judge ordered it in court.
Defense attorney Ken Hawk objected to the order and said his client should
be protected under several constitutional amendments.
"We mean no disrespect," he told 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr.
"We're only trying to preserve his rights."
Skeen overruled the objections and said the state is entitled to request
the handwriting specimen to compare with possible evidence. He said there
was no constitutional amendment or case law prohibiting the state to file
the motion and for Beatty to comply.
First Assistant District Attorney Brett Harrison asked the judge to find
the defendant in criminal contempt of court and Skeen set a hearing at 11
a.m. Tuesday, at which time attorneys will argue the issue.
Defense attorney Robert Perkins said he believed they had the right to
file an appeal on the court's order that Beatty provide writings before a
contempt hearing is held.
But Skeen said the hearing will be held next week so the court could go
through statutory requirements and findings needed before the court can
issue the contempt order.
If he is found in contempt, Beatty faces up to six months in jail and a
District Attorney Matt Bingham said he could not discuss what possible
evidence would have been compared with the requested penmanship examples
because of a protective and restrictive order issued by the judge Friday.
Perkins said the defense is also awaiting DNA results needed before
individual voir dire begins in the jury selection process.
Harrison said 12 swabs were taken from inside the victim's home for DNA
testing and the results are expected back before jury questioning on July
12. Group voir dire will begin Thursday when the entire jury panel is
scheduled to convene at the courthouse.
Results from a rape kit performed on Ms. Click have already been received
and came back negative - no evidence the victim was sexually assaulted was
found, Perkins said.
Hawk said several pages of Regions Bank records from Tyler and Alabama are
expected to be presented as evidence.
Beatty allegedly stole his mother's car and ATM card, making the offense
capital murder. His trial is set to begin July 26.
In December, the defendant was brought back to Smith County from Henderson
County, where he was jailed on charges of unauthorized use of a motor
vehicle and possession of a weapon by a felon.
Information from inmates at the Henderson County Jail, who Beatty
allegedly talked to about the murder, led authorities to the body on Dec.
Beatty also allegedly claimed to have killed his mother's boyfriend, but
Bingham has said he believes this to be a fabrication.
A preliminary autopsy indicates that the cause of death was probably
strangulation, but authorities do not know how long Mrs. Click's body was
buried, though they say it was probably around 3 weeks.
Mrs. Click may have been strangled by Beatty's hands, pantyhose, a piece
of cloth or an unknown object. It is also possible she was struck by a
blunt object, smothered or suffocated by being buried alive. The
indictment states that she was allegedly killed by Beatty as he committed
the offense of robbery or burglary of a habitation.
Mrs. Click was last seen by her neighbors Nov. 25, 2003. Beatty was living
with her at the time, having been paroled from prison to her house.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice records show that he has been in and
out of prison on charges including injury to a child, theft, possession of
a controlled substance and aggravated assault.
(source: Tyler Morning Telegraph)
Mental Illness be Damned
That's the message the government of Texas is sending to its citizens.
Unless a mentally ill person has plenty of money and/or is fortunate
enough to have health insurance with decent mental health benefits, Texas
would just as soon kill him as help him.
In 2001, Texas ranked 46th in the nation in mental healthcare spending. In
2003, the Texas legislature slashed millions of dollars from the state's
2004 mental healthcare programs. Under the 2004 budget, Medicaid will no
longer pay for adults to visit:
.. Licensed counselors,
.. Social workers, or
.. Marriage and family therapists.
The 2004 budget originally included drastic reductions in children's
mental healthcare benefits. Fortunately, these cuts were disapproved by
the Federal government. But other cuts and changes include:
.. Complete elimination of In Home and Family Support for mental health,
.. 11% reduction in services for mental retardation, and
.. 61% reduction in In Home and Family Support for mental retardation.
"A lot of bad people"
These budget cuts are only the latest evidence that Texas is a dangerous
place to live. For years advocacy groups have been urging the courts,
legislators and governors of Texas to re-examine the state's policies
regarding mentally ill and retarded criminals. It would seem that Texas
Judge Michael McCormick of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals summed up
the state's attitude when he said, "The reason we have so many people on
death row is plain and simple: We have a lot of bad people committing
capital murders, and we are doing something about it."
"Bad people." Consider the following cases:
.. Larry Robison - executed 1/21/2000 - Robison's family had tried for
years to get help for him through the Texas state healthcare system, but
he never remained hospitalized because "he wasn't violent." The 1st time
his paranoid schizophrenia led him into violence, he killed 5 people.
.. Gary Graham - executed 6/22/2000 - Graham was an abused and neglected
child with a history of mental illness. In addition, his conviction was
based on flimsy evidence and even jurors thought his defense lawyer made
no effort to defend.
.. John Satterwhite - executed 8/16/2000 - Satterwhite was diagnosed
paranoid schizophrenic with an IQ of 74. The European Union even
petitioned then Governor George W. Bush to commute his sentence. There
were serious questions regarding his trial and conviction.
.. James Colburn - executed 3/26/2003 - Colburn had a long history of
paranoid schizophrenia, and during his trial was sedated to the point of
.. Kelsey Patterson - executed 5/18/04 - Patterson's paranoid
schizophrenia was so severe that he was twice found not guilty by reason
of insanity in previous nonfatal shootings, treated, and released.
Sentenced to death for a double homicide, Patterson's condition was such
that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles even recommended to Governor
Rick Perry that his sentence be commuted, but Perry refused.
.. John Paul Henry - There was no question that John Paul Penry, who has
an IQ of between 50 and 63 and the mind of a 7-year-old child, was guilty.
Penry's death sentence has been overturned by the US Supreme Court twice,
and twice Texas has re-sentenced him to death. The second time the Supreme
Court ruled it unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded; a Texas
jury then found that Penry was not retarded and thus eligible after all
for the death penalty. He is still on death row.
.. Kenneth Lee Pierott - Pierott was found innocent by reason of insanity
of the beating death of his older sister in 1996 and was released from a
state hospital two years later. In April of 2004 he murdered a child.
Graham and Satterwhite may well have been innocent. But even putting aside
the question of whether death is an appropriate punishment for the others,
one can argue that their victims might be alive today had their mentally
ill killers received the help they needed in time. Larry Robison's parents
did everything they could to get treatment for their son but were stymied
by the system - and 5 people died. Both Kelsey Patterson and Kenneth
Pierott were known to be violent, were in the state's custody, but were
released without any assurance that treatment would continue, with tragic
And now, by reducing the availability of mental healthcare even further,
the State of Texas may well be setting up more potential killers, more
victims, and more work for the executioner.
.. Widespread protests against impending execution of Gary Graham in Texas
.. CNN World View Transcript
James Colburn: James Colburn: mentally ill man scheduled for execution in
Kelsey Patterson: The case of Kelsey Patterson
John Paul Penry: Texas set to execute mentally disabled man
Mental Health Help, Texas Style)
Live-In Boyfriend Arrested in Child Death
Police made an arrest Friday night in the death of a 4-year-old south side
21-year-old Paul Castellano was charged with capital murder after the
death of little Joshua Pacheco.
San Antonio Police say it was a case of child abuse.
"There was some blunt trauma to the abdomen and the medical examiner
thought the child was a victim of strangulation," SAPD Sgt. Gabe Trevino
Castellano was the live-in boyfriend of Joshua's mother, police said.
Neighbors report hearing screaming, yelling and crying at the south side
home on several occasions. In fact a family friend says, she suspected
Joshua and his younger sister were being abused.
"One time, the little girl came by, and she had bruises on her arm,"
Geraldine Alvarado said, "but the thing is we'd ask the brother, he said
he didn't know anything, but he was afraid to say anything."
Police say they are continuing their investigation, but for now, have not
implicated Joshua's mother in the crime. They think she was at work
yesterday when it happened.
With the capital murder charge, Castellano may be eligible for the death
News 4 WOAI did some checking and found Child Protective Services
investigated the family last year. The allegations involved physical abuse
of a different child.
The case was opened in last June. Caseworkers reported the parents were
cooperative and then closed the case in September.
(source: VOAI News)
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