[Deathpenalty] death penalty news------TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Aug 21 20:38:20 CDT 2007
TEXAS----impending (400th state) execution
Inmate relying on high court to avoid execution----Set to die Wednesday,
convicted killer says he got ineffective counsel
3 people identified Johnny Ray Conner as the man they saw running from a
north Houston grocery store after 49-year-old Kathyanna Nguyen was fatally
shot in May 1998. During Conner's trial, none of the witnesses mentioned
the gunman had a limp.
But, then again, none of them was asked.
A federal judge in 2005 ruled that Conner deserved another trial because
his defense attorneys failed to investigate Conner's medical record. His
trial attorneys said they never noticed Conner limp and he only mentioned
the issue in passing and never to dispute the witnesses' testimony. The
5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the federal judge's decision
without addressing the attorneys' performance. Now the issue rests with
the Supreme Court.
If the high court lets the ruling stand, Conner on Wednesday will become
the 101st Harris County inmate to be put to death since 1982. He declined
to be interviewed.
Customer saw robbery
During the May 19, 1998, robbery, the gunman stuffed a revolver into the
small opening of the store's counter, surrounded by bulletproof glass, and
demanded money from Nguyen. There was no escape for Nguyen, who owned the
business. She died from 3 gunshot wounds to the head. A customer, Julian
Gutierrez, who interrupted the robbery was also shot, but he survived.
"I heard somebody say, 'Give me all your money!' " Gutierrez testified at
Conner's trial. "He was pointing a gun at Kathyanna Nguyen and had his
hand all the way inside the booth. She was shaking."
Gutierrez was shot in the shoulder when he turned to run.
The gunman was seen by six witnesses, three of whom identified Conner as
Conner said he told his attorneys before the trial about a broken leg he
suffered a year before the shootings that led to a condition known as
"foot drop." Weakened muscles around his right shin made him shuffle his
right foot forward to walk.
No medical testimony about the injury was presented at this trial.
But other evidence may have been too much to overcome.
Conner's fingerprint was lifted from a plastic orange juice bottle police
found near the store's cash register. The bottle does not appear in police
photos of the crime scene a point hammered by the defense during the
trial. Conner told his attorneys he was at the store hours before the
Although three witnesses, including Gutierrez, picked Conner's mugshot
from a photo spread, all of them gave inconsistent descriptions. None of
them mentioned seeing the teardrop tattoo on his face.
Gutierrez told police the gunman was wearing white tennis shoes, brown
shorts, a white T-shirt and a red cap. Another witness, who saw the gunman
running down the street, said he wore dark shorts and no hat. A third
witness, who saw the gunman as she drove along Fulton, said he wore jeans,
tennis shoes and no hat.
Conner's appellate attorneys persuaded U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore
to conduct a hearing about Conner's ineffective assistance of counsel
"The state had him videotaped walking in the prison, unbeknownst to him
that he was being videotaped, and it shows he has a limp," said Robert
Rosenberg, who argued Conner's case during the hearing.
Ricardo Rodriguez and his co-counsel Jonathan Munier never noticed Conner
with a limp during his trial. Rodriguez testified during the hearing that
Conner told him "I broke my leg, but I'm fine now. I went for therapy."
"The defense attorneys failed to conduct a reasonable investigation that
would permit them to make a reasonable choice among trial strategies,"
said Jim Marcus, a University of Texas School of Law professor who filed a
petition with the Supreme Court about Conner's case. "That's no way to
make an informed decision."
Assistant District Attorney Lyn McClellan, who prosecuted the case,
doesn't buy Conner's claim.
"It's all about delaying the inevitable," McClellan said.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
Texas inmate set to die for Houston slaying 10 years ago
The bulletproof glass enclosure intended to protect Kathyanna Nguyen at
her Houston convenience store couldn't save her.
The 49-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, known as Miss Lee to customers, was
fatally shot by a would-be robber who managed to get his gun around the
barrier and through the opening used to hand items to customers.
Johnny Ray Conner, 32, identified by witnesses as the gunman who fled the
scene, is set to die Wednesday evening for the slaying nearly 10 years
Conner would be the 21st condemned prisoner executed this year in Texas
and the 400th put to death since the state resumed carrying out capital
punishment in 1982. The total is by far the highest among states with the
death penalty. Three more inmates are set to die next week.
Attorneys for Conner asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case and
stop the lethal injection, arguing his trial lawyers failed to investigate
a leg injury Conner suffered earlier that would have made it difficult for
him to run from the crime scene. Witnesses said they saw a man running
quickly from the store. Attorneys also challenged fingerprint evidence on
a juice bottle, arguing there was a print other than Conner's on the
bottle and there was no way to determine when he would have handled the
In January, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal
district judge's decision that granted a new trial, ruling that Conner's
trial lawyers didn't pursue medical evidence about the leg injury.
Conner's trial lawyers disputed they were ineffective, saying the injury
never was an issue because Conner told them his broken leg long had been
healed. In his earlier appeal, Conner said his limp from the injury could
have caused jurors to come to a different verdict because he couldn't run
fast. The appeals court, however, said there was no testimony at his trial
about his limp and none of his lawyers ever noticed a limp.
"Mr. Conner's trial attorneys, however, were not in any position to ask
such questions since they failed to investigate his gait problem," Kenneth
Williams, a University of Miami law professor now representing Conner,
said in his Supreme Court appeal.
State lawyers argued Conner downplayed the injury in discussion with his
trial attorneys and never told them he had a problem.
"There was no evidence that this was a legitimate issue at the time of the
offense," state lawyers said in their response to the appeal filed by
It was mid-afternoon Sunday, May 17, 1998, when customer Julian Gutierrez
went inside Nguyen's store to pay for some gasoline and walked in on the
robbery. Gutierrez tried to run back outside and was shot in the shoulder.
Nguyen was shot in the head.
Gutierrez survived and was among at least three people to identify Conner,
who left behind a fistful of cash.
Conner, a Shreveport, La., native, declined to speak with reporters in the
weeks preceding his scheduled punishment. On an anti-death penalty Web
site, he called his conviction an "atrocious act of barbarity against the
law and mankind."
Conner had a history of assaults and drug offenses, including cocaine
possession when he was 12. According to records, he was on probation as a
juvenile, ignored most of the conditions of his probation, missing 19
probation appointments over a year when he turned 17.
At his capital murder trial, a Harris County jury took less than an hour
to convict him, then deliberated about 5 hours before returning with the
Lyn McClellan, the Harris County district attorney who prosecuted Conner,
said it appeared Nguyen complied with Conner's demands and surrendered
"He got his hand and gun in the area and just waves that gun around and
follows her wherever she goes," McClellan said. "There was no place to
hide, no place to go. It's got to be a sickening feeling."
Scheduled for execution next is Daroyce Mosley, set to die Aug. 28 for the
shooting death of one of 4 people killed in a robbery of a bar in Kilgore
in East Texas in 1994.
(source: Associated Press)
Thoughts from Texas Death Row by Obie D. Weathers III
All of my Life I have felt something within me telling me which way to go
and / or not to my whole Life even back as far as I can remember as a
child, but sometimes I'd follow this inner guidance, sometimes I wouldn't.
For the most part I did, and I can tell you, because of it there are so
many scars I've avoided adding to my collection.
There came a point in my Life, I'm not exactly sure where, when I became
very confused. I began to shut my inner ear to my inner voice / guidance.
Mainly due to coming in contact with the world beyond the one I remained
isolated in. When my eyes and ears entered the "real world", as some refer
to it as, I was so bombarded with the sights and sounds that it (seemed)
as though I could no longer hear my guidance, in fact it was confusing,
because I couldn't understand exactly what was happening to me, why I was
so unsure about everything, where before, fresh from the warm, dark womb
of Mama, I was full of confidence in each step I took.
Soon I was stumbling over my feet. On a few occasions I escaped with only
a few minor bruises but then, suddenly and without warning, I fell so
hard, deep down in a pit, that I felt Id never hit bottom; and the impact,
so forceful I awake, on Death Row. I've often said, and I'll say it again,
and I'll keep saying till it's no longer necessary for me to my coming to
the Hell known as Texas Death Row in the united states of ameriklan is
nothing but a spiritual journey for me.
I lie on this hard bunk attempting to keep the pain of doing so from
distracting me; I close my eyes and I walk through my Life again, all from
the day of my rebirth to now, and when I come to the point where, when I
was transported to this place 6 years, 2 months ago, I'm not even slightly
amazed at "who" I am today, for I've always been who I am today.
I used to say in those days that I wanted to be better than I am. Now, I
don't want to be "better", because I am "better". I'm simply striving to
be me fully; to experience my potential in its entirety.
A child at birth rebirth is fully aware of who he is and because of this
his will, strength and spirit are fully atune to the Creator. As we grow
older and come closer to our every-day companion Death; as we grow closer
to the moment it's time for us to rejoin the Creator, we move back to that
spiritual oneness we moved from as we grew in age; that, as an infant, we
simply giggled at, as the adults around us said, "Aawwwe, he's sooo cute!"
Never knowing we were communing with the Almighty.
My spirit is rich.
Tell me, if you stepped outside your home, looked to the sky and saw the
sun directly above your head how much daylight would you have to do the
work you needed you, such as planting your crops? Today we have clocks,
lights, and so we've lost touch with the signs that tell the time. We've
become bombarded with the sights and sounds of the "real world".
As for me, I not only know it's time to plant my crops, but I understand
the time constraints I'm under, along with the awareness that for me not
to, and not have at my disposal the nourishing properties of these crops,
will deprive me of the necessary elements to my existence and my evolution
as a Being, and without them I have no doubt I'll perish, or as one wise
man once said, "You either evolve or you disappear."
Evolution is a forward progress. My evolution, my forward progress in
Life, depends solely on my ability to overcome my current predicament:
It's no escaping this fact (Death Row).
Let's examine this fact, and in particular its political reason for being.
To sum up an extensive and very well-known fact of why the Death Penalty
is in 2007 a reality in the country some of us call "God's own"; facts
that many of you are keenly aware of:
The Death Penalty is an apparatus of the Government used to generate
profit for said Government.
It's a genocidal weapon wielded against the economically depressed in
When we speak of the "Government" we're not referring to some obscure body
operated in secrecy; we're speaking of our police department, our D.A.
offices, our judges; we're speaking of the court-appointed attorneys;
we're speaking of the entire prison industrial complex, neo plantations;
we're speaking of all the elected officials this is the governmental
Most of us, upon hearing the word "genocide" think of Hitler. Even in
these days now Saddam. And then many of you will think, when seeing me use
the word genocide in relation with the Great Country of Opportunities,
"He's flipped his top! Ha! Genocide? In America? Never! No way! He's
Those who are labeled "minority" in America are either descendants from
Africa whose forefathers survived the horrific Atlantic slave trade and
centuries of torturous forced labor or theyre natives of an
underdeveloped country and usually underdeveloped, so out of the
imperialist practices of the same Government's country they flock to. Why?
For something better than they have at home.
Isolating first the minorties of African descent, particularly those who
descend from former slaves, we see that when a group of people are taken
forcibly from the land where they've established themselves and, in short,
a means of thriving and not just surviving, then, placed under 400 years
plus forced "service" only then to be "freed" in a land where they have
absolutely nothing places these people only in another state of slavery,
where now they're not under the weight of the bull whip (to use one of the
most widely-known tools of torture used by slave holders), but under the
weight of providing shelter, food and clothing for their bull-whip-scarred
backs in a land where they have, first, no place to start no foundation;
second, the land's riddled with the very people who have held them in
captivity for hundreds of years and still doesn't recognize them as being
completely Human, "their Government". So to say the least, it is next to
impossible (the negative side) for them to accomplish a stable Life for
their majority. Miraculously, however, this minority group has elevated a
small fraction of itself which always leaves many thinking, "time's
changed!", blinded by the tokens, not seeing all those still struggling to
get back to where they began. Because of this the largest portion of this
group still finds themselves struggling economically, thus it's no
surprise that when many find themselves in prison they recount to another
experiences that speak of petty crimes committed to feed their families.
For the people who are from the underdeveloped countries that are a part
of America's minorities, they, too, are stricken with the burden of
surviving the horrors of low wages that dont match up with the minimal
price of living. It is no wonder they, too, often turn to a Life of
survival, i.e. crime.
With the economical understanding of the group labelled minority we see
that it's a result of the Government in place of protecting them,
neglecting said group. When that is understood, we then see that the
reason for the Death Penalty being referred to as a modern genocidal
practise is in the very thought that a person barely, if at all, capable
of supplying their basic necessities of living can withstand an assault
brought by the adversarial process (trial proceedings) geared toward
condemning them to Death; it's barbaric at best; however, this is more
than thought, it is, in fact, its reality for many. And with statistics
showing that many court-appointed attorneys proving to be deficient during
the trials where they represent indigent defendants ring many alarms and
raise the question of whether or not the very Government thats paying the
attorneys is in reality paying them to work in clandestine for them
through offering ineffective assistance to "their" defendants, bringing
about higher conviction rates: more Death sentences.
After an unjust sentence is secured through the assistance of a
court-appointed attorney and the defendant enters the appellate courts,
he's confronted, fundamentally, with the same conditions, though with
increased intensity; if hes still unable to hire proper representation,
hell be appointed another court-appointed attorney to "represent" him by
the State thats slowly moving him to his Death, one appeal at a time; one
deficient representation at a time.
GENOCIDE: THE SYSTEMATIC PLANNED EXTERMINATION OF AN ENTIRE NATIONAL,
RACIAL, POLITICAL OR ETHNIC GROUP.
Some of you believe I'll survive the Death Row experience solely on the
strength of who I am. Others believe that the system will work things out
in our favor, and some have no clue as to whats happening here and / or
what needs to be done. What I've detailed above is a brief overview of
whats going on and an undercurrent of the above details what needs to be
Our point of interest, at this point in time, must be on our raising funds
through fund raisers and seeking donations; highlighting our plight in the
media to seek more support. This is, and I stress, a system that we're
dealing with one which operates in a set pattern, and only through set /
recognized "commands" will it deviate from its set course.
My survival wont come about through the court of appeals seeing "He's a
great guy!" They're not concerned with that only if I have effectively
presented / argued that the injustice served to me during trial in such
compelling frames that they recognize relief is undisputable. We cannot
accomplish this without legal representation with the resources to present
I'm hoping and looking forward to our coming together on this urgent
matter and planting our seeds for when harvest season is upon us, were not
left without any protection from the winter, that is, like all the
previous winters before it, sure to come.
More words and thoughts from Obie.
Dear Friends and Fellow Abolitionists,
Moving into my 7th year condemned here in Texas, as I look back on the
first days of my being here on Death Row, I see that these days are very
much like those past, being 20 21 22 years old. Now, I'm still alone in
a cage and every time I lay on the hard bunk in this cage, hoping to gain
a little respite from the ever-present madness, there in my unconscious
state I'm met with nightmares after another, and for the most I can say
that the nightmare I live in my awakened state I endure while attempting
to rest from the horrors of the other. Many of nights do I awake, eyes
wide and sweat pouring off my body; sometimes I awake from these
nightmares by a guard wanting me to, in the middle of the night, recite
the prison number assigned to me by them, but mostly Im frightened out of
my nightmares; I force myself to awake from my own nightmares and I'm
always left wondering which is better: my nightmares or reality?
Recently, while being chased in my sleep by the unseen threat that's my
eternal fear of being slaughtered by the criminal justice system here in
Texas without the chance to live a Life where I can not only atone for the
mistakes of my past by living a productive Life, but also live a
fulfilling Life where I'm allowed the opportunity of living my dreams as
going to school, traveling the world, possibly finding a mate to share my
Life with and all the normal things that the average person in Life
strives for, I noticed something different about this particular
nightmare, this moment.
Usually Im being chased, chased and chased till Im forced to either jump
from a cliff, moving car, train or from any position thatll surely kill
me. This time, as I ran, I was met with a squad of guards all dressed in
full riot gear; the gear thats worn by the guards here when theyre about
to unmercifully spray high-powered pepper spray on a prisoner before
jumping on him, dragging him off to be strapped to the table in
Huntsville, Texas, where many of my friends have been and Ive not seen
them since. Yet, later read in the paper:
TOMMIE HUGHES: EXECTUTED!
JUSTIN FULLER: EXECUTED!
DERRICK FRAZIER: EXECUTED!
These news clips always leave me wondering why the reporters simply didnt
say it like it is:
In this nightmare I sat, along with friends, in a park on a mild summer
day enjoying the day and another's company when the goons converged on us
and began to bomb us with gas. As we began to flee, knowing if we didn't,
we'd be killed surely, we were met by more guards they were everywhere,
and soon we were surrounded with nowhere to go. It would not be any more
running; it was time to stand and fight. At that point of awareness I
awoke from the nightmare, fearful of the outcome, grabbed a pen, scrap
piece of paper, and scribbled this poem,
Blood on my pillow
in the middle;
I didn't start it,
ain't perpetuating it
& want no part of it
It's being waged
all around me
have no sense of fight,
& even me,
I only want flight
from the grips of it all:
of being utterly
in the vice
& who tighten the lever
that serves only
to crush spirits,
ALMIGHTY, I only want PEACE;
This year alone 14 people have been killed by the criminal justice system
in Texas. At the present, 13 people have dates for their demise and Im
left with only the hope that the plug will be pulled on the executioners
guillotine before my number is up, for I only want PEACE. And what about
I'd like to encourage you to learn more about the injustice that's brought
me to Death Row and how you can help reverse the effects of it, making
Life for us all a bit better. What with all the injustices severed around
the world by the second, helping save my Life won't fix all the problems
our world faces, but in saving one precious Life will we help stop the
nightmare we live. For as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:
"INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE."
I thank you very much for your time and Im looking forward to fighting in
solidarity with you till the end of this nightmare!
"Anything I do today, I regard as urgent. No man is given but so much time
to accomplish whatever his Life's work. My Life in particular never has
stayed fixed in one position very long I am only facing the facts when I
know that any moment of any day, or any night, could bring Death." - El
Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)
OF MY HEART
LIES MY COMPASS
MY DETERMINED VITALITY
ALL LEADING ME
& OVER ALL
* GERMAN FOR "GOD'S LIFE"
*Editors Note: Please write Obie at the following address to lend support
and a positive encouraging word. Like Tupac said 'you need mail when your
in jail', and to take just a second to encourage and to let someone know
they are not alone is what we all should do as brothers and sisters. And
for more info and more from Obie please visit the sites below.
Obie D. Weathers, III
3872 F.M. 350 South
Livingston, Texas 77351
(source: www.obieweathers.com )
Outside review of HPD lab cases debated----Lawmaker at odds with local
leaders cites need for independence
A state legislator on Monday pledged to do whatever it takes to inject
independence into ongoing reviews of problem cases from the Houston crime
lab, rejecting local officials' assurances that police and prosecutors can
handle the task.
"It is outrageous to expect the same players who may have mishandled these
cases in the first place to be in control of the review," said Rep. Kevin
Bailey after a legislative hearing on Houston's response to
recommendations on how to improve its crime lab, which has been under
scrutiny since its shoddy work was exposed in November 2002.
The final report on a $5.3 million probe of the Houston Police Department
crime lab outlined reforms for completing a review of the lab's historical
problems and for improving current operations. The investigation, which
began in April 2005, was opened more than two years after revelations of
sloppy science and poorly trained analysts at the lab touched off a
scandal that cast doubts on thousands of cases and led to two men's
release from prison.
Investigators' recommendations, released in June, included hiring an
independent "special master" to review some 180 cases with problematic
serology, or blood, evidence. They also proposed dozens of steps for
enhancing training, equipment and procedures at the lab.
Local officials quickly rejected the special master proposal, but they
have moved toward adopting other recommendations, officials told members
of the House committees on urban affairs and general investigating and
ethics who met in Houston.
Police Chief Harold Hurtt and Crime Lab Director Irma Rios detailed a
series of steps HPD has taken, including adding quality control positions,
increasing lab funding and building a new property room.
But Hurtt and Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, who also
spoke before the committees, remained resistant to independent
investigator Michael Bromwich's proposal that an independent entity review
the 180 problematic cases.
"At some time and place the department and the District Attorney's office
and the court system of Harris County have to regain the confidence of the
public as people that can and will do the job," Hurtt said.
Hurtt, Rosenthal and Mayor Bill White have said they will review the cases
as well as about 400 others that Bromwich's team identified. They said
they will forward their findings to the courts and report their progress
to the stakeholder committee, a panel of representatives from the
community that has monitored the lab investigation for more than 2 years.
But legislators, including Houston Democrats Bailey and Harold Dutton, and
Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, questioned whether an outsider would not
be better suited to the task.
A number of models could be used to ensure independence, Bailey said,
suggesting that the recently formed Texas Forensic Science Commission or
an existing state district judge could perform the review. If needed,
Bailey said, he would propose legislation requiring Houston to open the
review to an outsider.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
TEXAS DEATH ROW EXHIBIT showcases the photos seen in Bill Crawford's book
of the same name. These images, many of which are on display for the first
time, tell the stories of death-row inmates in Texas, which has executed
more people than any other state in the U.S. Stop in Fri., Aug. 24, 7pm,
for a special presentation from Crawford himself and Larry Fitzgerald,
former public information officer for the Texas Department of Justice.
They will present video interviews with executioners and discuss the
photos on display. Through Aug. 25. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar, 472-5050.
(source: Austin Chronicle)
5th arrest made in Etoile 'ordered execution'----Warrant issued for 6th
A 5th suspect has been charged and a 6th arrest is anticipated in
connection with the Aug. 10 double homicide in Etoile, which authorities
are now calling an "ordered execution" within the Aryan Brotherhood of
Texas, according to Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss.
Authorities served a warrant Monday to Carl Carver, 40, of Lufkin, who
currently resides in the Angelina County Jail, serving time for previous
Although Carver "was incarcerated during the time the crime was
committed," according to Kerss, authorities believe Carver played an
active role in the murders of David Mitchamore, Jr. of Lufkin and Christy
Rochelle Brown of Hudson, although the sheriff said he could not reveal
the exact role Carver is believed to have played in the deaths.
"We've given as much information as we felt comfortable revealing up to
this point," Kerss said.
Previous arrests in the case have included Charles Cameron Frazier, 26, of
315 Ellington, No. 123 and Brent Nicholas Stalsby, 26, of 802 Everett St.,
Lufkin, who were charged with murder, and April Nicole Flanagan, 27, and
Terry Stalsby, 26, 802 Everett St., Lufkin, wife of co-defendent Brent
Stalsby, who were each charged with conspiracy to commit capital murder.
Carver, like co-defendents Frazier and Stalsby, has a lengthy criminal
record with several prior arrests on felony charges, including possession
of a firearm and ammunition, possession of a firearm during a drug
trafficking crime and possession of chemicals with knowledge of its
intended use to manufacture a controlled substance, according to newspaper
The warrant for Carver was 1 of 2 obtained Monday, but authorities did not
release the name of the 6th suspect or their involvement pending an
arrest. But Kerss said once the sixth suspect is in custody, he said he
believes the majority of those involved in the murders will have been
"We firmly believe we know all the actors who are chiefly responsible for
carrying out the act, but there are several others that played some role,"
Kerss said he is unsure if there will be additional arrests following the
arrest of the 6th suspect.
"We want to identify anyone and everyone who played a part in these
murders and get them into custody," he said. "I've emphasized this is a
very complex investigation, and it's still ongoing."
The number of defendants, suspects and known affiliation leads officers
have had to track down has made the case one of the most complex Kerss has
seen in his 25 years in law enforcement, he said.
All of the actors, victims and known associates all appeared to be
affiliated in some way with a primarily prison-based gang - the Aryan
Brotherhood of Texas, according to Kerss.
"Females do not carry the same status as males (in the Aryan Brotherhood
of Texas), but each male we have identified so far has been a known
member," Kerss said. "And each female has had direct ties to those
Kerss said authorities believe Flanagan and Terrie Stalsby helped plan the
murders and later destroyed evidence.
Kerss confirmed that one of the 2 women described in a statement by an
Angelina County motel employee was Terrie Stalsby.
In her statement, the motel employee said she witnessed a woman she later
identified as Flanagan, another woman and a man attempt to gain access to
the room the victims, Mitchamore and Brown, had rented the day before. She
said the three individuals informed her that the couple that had been
staying there would not be returning to the room.
Mitchamore's body was located shortly before noon Aug. 10 by Christy
Anglin, who was on her way to a lake house off CR 467. She said she saw
something in the road as she drove up, but thought one of her friends was
playing a joke on her. When she realized it was a body, she telephoned
Mitchamore's body was discovered laying face down in the middle of the
dirt road, and Brown's body was discovered a few feet away from
Current charges in the case could change, Kerss said.
"Once the case goes to grand jury, they will assess the charges and see if
the charges of capital murder will be pursued or if it will be a lesser
degree of murder," Kerss said.
Kerss said the investigation is running smoothly and has been successful
due to the combined help of nearby law enforcement agencies.
"We would not be as far along in the investigation without help," Kerss
said, " ... the Angelina County Sheriff's Department in particular."
(source: Lufkin Daily News)
Man gets 35 years in cop killing
A man who shot and killed an off-duty Beeville police officer last year
during a violent crime spree accepted a plea agreement from prosecutors
Monday and was sentenced to 35 years in prison, officials said.
Vincent Jessamy, 19, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of murder for the
slaying of Gregory Stewart, a 3-year officer and an Iraq war veteran who
was walking from a North Side club when Jessamy demanded his wallet and
shot him twice, said Assistant District Attorney Loretta Hewitt.
Jessamy was initially charged with capital murder, which carries a
sentence of either life in prison or the death penalty.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed another charge of
capital murder in connection with a separate killing that occurred during
the crime spree.
After the sentencing before 186th District Judge Maria Teresa Herr,
Stewart's family expressed relief that a resolution had been reached but
said they wished the punishment had been harsher.
Jessamy was arrested in May 2006 with Marcus Anthony Acevedo, 20, and
Jeremy Miera, 19. Police said the three orchestrated a spree that spanned
about 30 minutes and left Stewart and another man dead early May 7, 2006.
The 1st crime occurred at 1:45 a.m. in the 1300 block of West Woodlawn
Avenue when a purse was stolen from a 15-year-old girl.
9 minutes later, Juan Antonio Cerda, 45, was sitting in his minivan
outside a friend's house in the 700 block of Cincinnati Avenue when
several gunshots fired from a passing SUV killed him. Prosecutors allege
Miera fired those shots, Hewitt said.
About 22 minutes later, a white SUV pulled up to Stewart and a friend, who
were walking from Graham Central Station to a Jim's restaurant in the 4800
block of Fredericksburg Road. A man got out and aimed a gun at the duo,
demanding their money.
Stewart was shot twice. He died at University Hospital 8 days later,
leaving behind a 5-year-old son.
Acevedo remained Monday in Bexar County Jail, charged with capital murder
and 2 counts of aggravated robbery. Miera also remained in the jail
Monday. He was charged with two counts of capital murder, 2 counts of
aggravated robbery, resisting arrest and possessing a prohibited knife.
Citing the coming trials for those men, Hewitt declined to explain why
prosecutors offered Jessamy the plea deal.
(source: San Antonio Express-News)
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