[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TEXAS, OKLAHOMA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jul 24 22:40:35 CDT 2007
TEXAS----execution, 100th from Harris County
Killer executed in 1990 murder of 2 Harris County teens
Convicted murderer Lonnie Earl Johnson was executed this evening for the
fatal shootings of 2 Harris County teenagers 17 years ago.
Johnson expressed love to a friend. "It's been a joy and a blessing. Give
everybody my regards. I love you and I'll see you in eternity,'' he said
in a brief final statement. "Father, take me home. I'm gone, baby. I'm
ready to go.''
Johnson never looked at 6 relatives of the victims, including the mothers
of Sean Fulk Schulz, 16, and his friend Leroy McCaffrey Jr., 17.
He was pronounced dead at 6:44 p.m., 8 minutes after the lethal drugs
began to flow.
Johnson, 44, didn't deny killing Schulz and McCaffrey and taking their
pickup truck, but had insisted the slayings were in self-defense after the
pair pulled a gun and made racial threats against him. Johnson is black,
his 2 victims white.
Lawyers for Johnson went to the federal courts to halt the punishment,
contending prosecutors withheld evidence favorable to him. Harris County
prosecutors and state lawyers denied the allegations.
After a brief delay beyond the 6 p.m. scheduled execution time, the U.S.
Supreme Court denied his appeals, clearing the way for the lethal
"What I got wasn't justice,'' Johnson told The Associated Press from death
row last week. "I feel like I was betrayed. I feel like I was sold out.
They threw me to the wolves.''
Johnson contended the teens offered him a ride home from a convenience
store in Tomball in northwest Harris County and he accepted. During the
ride, Johnson said they pulled a gun on him and when he wrestled with the
pair to grab the weapon, they were shot.
``You do what you have to do,'' he said. "If I could have run, I'd have
The bodies of McCaffrey, known as "Punkin,'' and Schulz, known to his
family and friends as "Bubba,'' were spotted the next morning by a
motorist. Johnson acknowledged taking their pickup truck and driving to
Austin to see his girlfriend, who worked at a topless club. He traded the
gun to buy some drugs, he said.
"I did a few knucklehead things,'' he said. "When things like this are
going on, you're not going to think clearly. I was not thinking clearly.''
He was arrested about 2 weeks later in Austin.
McCaffrey and Schultz attended Magnolia High School in Montgomery County.
The night of Aug. 15, 1990, McCaffrey met his friend getting off work as a
grocery store stocker, and the pair stopped at the convenience store to
see a girl they knew. According to the store clerk, Johnson said he needed
a lift because his car had broken down.
"He was such a non-racist person, such a gentle person,'' said Chris
Schulz, whose son was killed. "He would just help anybody, and that's what
this is all about.''
"In no way were they racists,'' added Laura McCaffrey, who also lost her
son. "They were friends with anybody.''
Both women witnessed the execution.
"I won't say we're looking forward to it, but it's something we've been
wanting to be done,'' Schulz said. "I do believe he's a very vicious man
that chose to do this, so he deserves his punishment. He deserved it a
long time ago.
"He's scratching for his life, but he didn't give my son and his friend
the same chance.''
Johnson had no previous prison record, but evidence at trial indicated a
history of aggressive behavior, primarily fights with women. He also got
into numerous fights with other inmates at the Harris County Jail while
awaiting trial. Johnson said he was just trying to keep safe from other
Johnson becomes the 19th condemned inmate to be put to death this year and
the 398th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December
Death penalty opponents noted Johnson would be the 100th person executed
after being given a death sentence by a Harris County jury. The total for
the county is more than any other state except Texas; Virginia has carried
out 98 executions (also since 1982).
"A grim milestone for a system that is costly, racially biased and may
have put innocent men to death,'' said Jared Feuer, southern regional
director for the human rights group Amnesty International, which opposes
capital punishment in all instances.
The next Texas inmate scheduled to die is Kenneth Parr, convicted of the
January 1998 rape-slaying of Linda Malek, 28, at her Matagorda County
home. The Aug. 15 punishment is 1 of 5 lethal injections set for the month
Johnson becomes the 31st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in
the USA and the 1088th overall since the nation resumed executions on
January 17, 1977.
(sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin)
Death penalty to be sought in killing of Tishomingo student
Prosecutors in Pontotoc County say they will seek the death penalty for a
man accused of killing a 17-year-old Tishomingo High School student.
Scotty Laddell Brooks is charged with 1st-degree murder in the December
shooting death of Dale Catron at Brooks' home.
Court documents say Catron's cousin told police the 2 were taking a walk
when they were invited into the house and Brooks asked the boys what gang
they were in. The cousin says when Catron denied being in a gang he was
shot by Brooks.
Trial is to begin December 3rd.
(source: Associated Press)
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