[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Feb 22 23:14:34 UTC 2007
Man who killed elderly couple to be executed today
Frank and Bertha Cobb had lived in their rural East Texas home for more
than 20 years.
"They never even had a break-in," their daughter, Carolyn Sanders,
On March 4, 1999, they came home to find a burglar, Newton Anderson, in
"Then it just got crazy," Anderson said, describing a frenzy that ended
with the couple tortured and killed.
Anderson, 30, faces lethal injection this evening for their deaths.
"I'm guilty," he told The Associated Press from death row. "I just can't
explain why all this took place."
The bodies of Cobb, 71, and his wife, 61, were found in the rubble of
their burned home, which authorities said he torched.
His execution would be the 5th this year in the nation's busiest capital
punishment state and the 1st of 4 scheduled over the next 2 weeks.
Sanders planned to be in Huntsville to witness Anderson's execution "just
to see that it's ended."
"I'm not anticipating him saying anything to us," Sanders, 52, said. "If
he did, I wouldn't be sure if I could trust what comes out of his mouth."
Lawyers for Anderson asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case and
block the punishment, but prosecutors said the case is airtight.
"Absolutely no doubt, scientifically no question," said Matt Bingham, the
Smith County district attorney who prosecuted Anderson.
Anderson had an extensive criminal record. In California, he received six
years in a juvenile lockup for burglary and auto theft but escaped after
less than 2 months. In Texas, he'd been jailed for domestic assault and
burglary and twice was apprehended trying to escape jail while awaiting
trial on the capital murder charge.
On death row, the red-haired prisoner was caught trying to cut his way out
of his steel cell, earning him the nickname "Hacksaw Red" from his fellow
"I'm infamous," he said.
Anderson was arrested at a motel in Dallas, where he fled the day of the
slayings. Witnesses had seen him walking in the area and then driving the
couple's Cadillac. He took the car to the home of a brother-in-law's
nephew, where he was living, to deliver some clothing, a fan and other
items later identified as belonging to his victims.
Firefighters responding to the blaze at the Cobbs' home found Frank Cobb
in the wreckage, face down with his hands and feet bound with electrical
tape. The retired Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. worker had been shot in
the head at close range with a shotgun. His wife's body later was
discovered, her hands and feet also bound and with tape over her mouth and
nose. The retired nurse was shot several times, strangled and raped.
"This was a case where he didn't just kill them and he just didn't take
their property," Bingham said. "He really tortured them."
Anderson had been out of prison only 4 months, released on mandatory
supervision, a form of probation, after serving about half of an 8-year
sentence for 3 counts of burglary.
"Since I was a kid I can look at certain houses and figure out if it's
easy to break into," Anderson said. "I've been in houses where people were
The couple's home in New Harmony, about 10 miles northwest of Tyler, fit
"It was by itself, kind of secluded," he recalled. "There wasn't nobody
home. It was during the day."
Anderson said he was living on the streets before he was a teenager to get
away from his alcoholic father and stepmother in Pittsburgh, Calif., lived
in tents with other homeless folks and turned to burglaries to support
himself and his street friends, taking not only valuables but also food
from home freezers.
The next Texas inmate scheduled to die is Donald Miller, condemned for the
fatal shooting of 2 men during a 1982 robbery in Houston. Miller, 44, set
for injection Tuesday, has spent more than 24 years on death row, making
him among the state's longest-serving condemned prisoners. 2 more
executions are set for the following week.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice execution schedule
(source: Associated Press)
State District Judge Refuses Stay For Condemned Killer
A hand-written plea comes from a death row inmate scheduled for execution
30-year-old Newton Anderson is set to die for the 1999 torture and killing
of Frank and Bertha Cobb in their Smith County home.
In a newly-released letter, Anderson asked trial Judge Cynthia Kent for a
stay of execution because "a lot of other states have stopped their
killings because of problems with the executions,"
Lethal injections are on hold in Florida after an execution in December
took 34 minutes and a second dose of drugs. Judge Kent said Texas state
law did not allow her to act in this case. Anderson's sole appeal rests
with the U.S. Supreme Court.
(source: KLTV News)
Police file 2nd capital murder charge against Lufkin man
Police filed an additional capital murder charge Wednesday afternoon
against a Lufkin man who allegedly shot his pregnant girlfriend Feb. 13.
The unborn baby died 1 day later, followed by the mother on Saturday.
Claudia Rodriguez, 20, died at a local hospital from a gunshot wound to
the forehead, three days after her unborn child died inside her because of
her critical injuries, police said. Rodriguez was five or six months
Police arrested Darrell Djuan Ivey, 20, about 6 p.m. Feb. 13 after
responding to a call of an alleged suicide attempt at 509 Packer Ave., off
Lakeview near Kurth Drive.
Ivey and Rodriguez apparently lived together, according to police.
Officers found Rodriguez lying on the living room floor with a gunshot
wound above her left eye, police said. Police recovered a 9mm pistol near
her body. Ivey, at the house when police arrived, was determined to be the
shooter, said Lt. David Young, police spokesman. Police have not released
details on how that determination was made.
Charles Meyers, a local defense attorney hired to represent Ivey, said his
client has shown remorse for Rodriguez and her family.
"Of course he is upset about it. It's a horrible thing," he said.
Meyers said it is too early for him to say anything about the facts of the
"It's a very, very young case. The investigation is still ongoing. It's a
few months away from indictment. Our investigation is just beginning. It's
truly in it's infancy," he said.
After Rodriguez's unborn child died Feb. 14, detectives filed their 2st
capital murder charge against Ivey, accusing him of allegedly causing the
death of a child under 6.
An autopsy examination in Beaumont concluded the injuries caused a
stillbirth, Young said.
Rodriguez died Saturday in the intensive care unit of Memorial Health
System of East Texas in Lufkin, where she had remained in critical
condition after the shooting.
Under Texas law, killing more than 1 person during the same crime meets
the criteria for a capital murder charge.
Prior to his arrest, Ivey was attending classes at Lewis Unit Training
Academy in Woodville, a state prison guard training academy, according to
Michelle Lyons, public information officer for the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice. Ivey enrolled in the academy Feb. 1.
Ivey is now charged with 2 counts of capital murder and possession of
ecstacy and cocaine, according to Young. He was initially charged with
aggravated assault, but police later upgraded that to capital murder.
Ivey remained in jail Wednesday on a $500,000 bond for the 1st capital
murder charge, and 2 additional $50,000 bonds for the lesser charges. No
bond had been set for the 2nd capital murder charge.
(source: Lufkin Daily News)
'She was my baby,' victim's father says
Lex Baquer apologized to jurors Wednesday for shedding tears as he
testified in the trial of the man accused of murdering his daughter.
"She was my baby," Baquer said, wiping his eyes as he recounted the 1994
hired killing of Farah Fratta.
The woman's husband and another man remain on death row for their roles in
the slaying, but Howard Paul Guidry, accused of being the triggerman, is
on trial a 2nd time. His original capital murder conviction was
The defense and prosecution rested their cases Wednesday and jurors are
expected to begin deliberating today after hearing closing arguments.
Guidry, 30, has pleaded not guilty. He received a death sentence in his
first trial and could return to death row if convicted again.
In his brief testimony, Baquer recounted going to his daughter's home in
Atascocita, in northeast Harris County, after she was shot twice in the
head Nov. 9, 1994. He said paramedics were trying to help her as she lay
on the garage floor.
"I could see she was having convulsions," said Baquer, 73. "She was
Fratta, 33, died a short time later. She had been in the midst of a bitter
divorce and child custody battle with her husband, Robert Fratta, a
Missouri City public safety officer. He was convicted of capital murder
and sentenced to death for hiring Joseph Prystash to commit the murder.
Prosecutors say Prystash, who also was condemned to death, hired Guidry.
A federal judge overturned Guidry's 1997 conviction in 2004, ruling that
Guidry had been tricked into confessing and that hearsay testimony had
contributed to the conviction.
Also on Wednesday, Scott Basinger, associate dean of graduate studies at
the Baylor College of Medicine, testified that Guidry told him in 1997
that he had shot Farah Fratta. Basinger said Guidry made the statement
during an interview before his original trial.
2 men who are serving sentences in Texas prisons also testified that they
knew Guidry. Neandre Perry, 33, who is scheduled for release soon after
serving more than 12 years for aggravated robbery, said Guidry gave him a
.38-caliber pistol. Prosecutors say that pistol had been used to kill
Kenno Deshawn Henderson, Minneapolis30, serving a 25-year sentence for
aggravated robbery, testified he heard Guidry say that a man owed him
Prosecutors maintain that Prystash and Guidry expected to receive about
$1,000, a Jeep and the pistol for carrying out the killing.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
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