[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Sep 14 17:03:34 CDT 2007
TEXAS----new execution date
Execution date set in Bell County case
A man convicted of a Bell County murder is the 1st scheduled to die in
2008 from Texas' death row. Judge Joe Carroll with the 27th District
signed the death warrant for 41-year-old Denard Manns, scheduling him to
die on Jan. 24. Texas has thus far executed 23 inmates and has 6 more
scheduled for 2007. A 7th, who was scheduled to die Thursday night, had
his death warrant withdrawn at the request of the Dallas County district
A Bell County jury convicted Manns and sentenced him to die in March 2002
for the November 1998 slaying of 25-year-old Army medic Christine Robson.
"All the basic appeals have been exhausted unless there's an extraordinary
appeal," Carroll said.
After Ms. Robson, with Fort Hood's 21st Combat Support Hospital, didn't
report to work on Nov. 19, 1998, 3 of her fellow soldiers came to her
house. Inside, they found her dead - kneeling and face down inside her
bathtub - killed by 4 gunshot wounds to the head. The woman, clad only in
a bra, had her hands tied behind her back with an electrical cord.
Testimony during the trial showed Manns' DNA matched DNA extracted from a
semen stain on the bra. Manns had lived 2 doors down from Ms. Robson, in
the same 4-apartment complex about 4 blocks from the Killeen Police
Manns had a prior record from New York, where he had served 2 sentences
for armed robberies, and was out on parole in 1998 when he murdered Ms.
Carroll said there would still be a chance for a last-minute appeal.
"We'll continue to monitor it and if it doesn't happen in January we'll
set another day for it," he said. "Hopefully it will not be reversed and
we will not have to try it again."
2 death row inmates from Bell County have previously been executed,
including one for which Carroll also signed the death warrant.
Christopher Black Sr. was 43 when he was executed on July 9, 2003, for
killing his 17-month-old granddaughter Katrese Houston on Feb. 7, 1998.
Carroll sentenced Black to death after a jury found him guilty and
deserved the death penalty in August 1999. Black also had been charged
with killing his wife Gwendolyn Black, and 5-month-old-daughter Christina
Black. After shooting them, he called 911. When officers arrived, he was
holding his dead daughter in his arms.
Thomas Barefoot was 39 when he was executed on Oct. 30, 1984, for killing
a Harker Heights police officer to avoid arrest on Aug. 7, 1978. Barefoot
was wanted in New Mexico on charges of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old
(source : Temple Daily Telegram)
Court stops execution at district attorney's request----Dallas County: He
says defense didn't get all evidence during trial
Joseph Lave A twice-convicted murderer was spared lethal injection
Thursday after the Dallas County district attorney's office asked that the
execution be halted because evidence was not turned over to Joseph Roland
Lave Jr.'s attorneys.
The request by District Attorney Craig Watkins came after his office
discovered that long-requested information about a second polygraph test
by a co-defendant existed despite the previous district attorney's
administration saying it did not.
Court records show that in 2004, prosecutors told Mr. Lave's appellate
attorneys and a federal court that a second polygraph was never taken.
Mike Ware, who oversees the district attorney's conviction integrity unit,
said the district attorney's office found the results of the second
polygraph in its files. The second polygraph was taken at the request of
the district attorney's office.
Mike Ware, special assistant in the Dallas County Attorney's Office
Conviction Integrity Unit, announced Thursday the withdrawal of the
execution date of Joseph Roland Lave. "We did not feel it would be right
to allow the execution to go through without disclosing this information
to Mr. Lave's attorneys," Mr. Ware said. "It appears the rule of law was
not followed. ... Misrepresentations were made."
The co-defendant, Timothy Bates, did not testify against Mr. Lave, but his
statements to police were introduced as evidence. Although the district
attorney's office would not detail the outcome of the polygraph, officials
said the results directly address Mr. Bates' credibility.
Mr. Ware said he became aware of the 2nd polygraph earlier this week but
did not realize its significance until Wednesday. That's when state
District Judge Andy Chatham signed the order that halted the execution.
Mr. Ware said it's too soon to tell whether further investigation of Mr.
Lave's case could result in a new execution date or a new trial.
It's unclear whether Mr. Bates' statements would have been allowed or
objected to at trial if Mr. Lave's attorneys knew about the 2nd polygraph,
Mr. Ware said.
Richard Franklin, the lead defense attorney at Mr. Lave's trial, said he
believes he had the results of the second polygraph, but he was not
"I think I had that information, but I'm not sure specifically what form
it took," Mr. Franklin said. "It wouldn't have changed the way we did
anything because we didn't believe Bates was telling the truth anyway."
AN UNUSUAL CASE
What happened: A death row inmate's execution was halted at the request of
the Dallas County district attorney because evidence in his case was not
turned over to his attorneys. The attorneys had previously been told that
the evidence results of a lie detector test did not exist.
What's next: Joseph Roland Lave Jr.'s attorneys and the district
attorney's office will examine the legal ramifications of the evidence not
being turned over. Officials said it's too soon to know whether Mr. Lave
could get a new trial or if another execution date will be set. The
district attorney's office will look into whether there was prosecutorial
Mr. Lave's current attorneys could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The district attorney's office declined to name the attorneys who did not
hand over the information. They are no longer with the district attorney's
office, and it's unclear whether the information was overlooked or
The district attorney's office will look into whether prosecutorial
misconduct took place.
The 2004 federal court finding shows that the district attorney's office
under former District Attorney Bill Hill told the court that only one
polygraph was taken.
Mr. Lave's attorneys said this was not true but could not present any
evidence of this except for comments from Mr. Bates to an investigator who
interviewed him after the trial, court records show. Mr. Bates said in the
interview that he may have taken more than one polygraph.
The district attorney's office said the U.S. Supreme Court could have
granted a stay based on this information, but officials did not want to
Dan Hagood, the original prosecutor in the case who is now a defense
attorney, referred all questions to the district attorney's office.
Southern Methodist University law professor Fred Moss said he can't recall
another case where a district attorney has requested a stay unless there
was clear evidence a defendant was not guilty.
"In my experience, it's rather unusual where a stay has come from the
prosecution," Mr. Moss said. "It seems consistent with the policies
Watkins has instituted to make sure all convictions are safe convictions."
Mr. Franklin, the original defense attorney, praised the district
attorney's office. He doesn't think former district attorneys would have
raised the question.
"I think they would have said, 'No, that's good enough,' " he said.
Mr. Moss, a former federal prosecutor, called Mr. Watkins' request
"Death is, after all, final," Mr. Moss said. "What's the harm in
Law of parties
Mr. Lave, a former delivery driver, was convicted of capital murder for
the robbery and double murder on the day before Thanksgiving in 1992 at
Herman's World of Sporting Goods in Richardson.
Mr. Lave was convicted under the state's law of parties. The law makes
anyone who is involved in a capital crime eligible for the death penalty.
Last month, Gov. Rick Perry blocked the execution of a man convicted under
the law of parties and commuted his sentenced to life in prison. Kenneth
Foster was the getaway driver in a 1996 armed robbery spree that ended in
the death of a 25-year-old San Antonio man.
In the Richardson case that led to Mr. Lave's conviction, 3 men including
an employee used a key to get inside the sporting goods store. The
robbers bound store employees Angie King, 22, Frederick Banzhaf, 18, and
Justin Marquart, 18, with duct tape on their wrists, mouths and eyes. All
three had their skulls fractured with a hammer, and their throats were
Mr. Banzhaf and Mr. Marquart died. But Ms. King survived. She freed
herself and called police. Ms. King identified the store employee, James
Langston, 26, who was shot and killed the day after the murders when he
tried to run over a police officer with a car.
In his clothing, police found a telephone number for Mr. Bates. Mr. Bates,
who was sentenced to life in prison, led authorities to Mr. Lave.
Mr. Franklin has insisted that Mr. Lave thought he was in on an
after-hours burglary and blames Mr. Langston for the murders.
Mr. Lave was sentenced to life in prison for one of the murders and
received a death sentence in the 2nd trial.
At trial, Ms. King described the voice of the man who cut her as sounding
like Donald Duck, a description that seemed to fit Mr. Lave, Mr. Franklin
He said the reprieve would probably postpone Mr. Lave's execution.
"I think it's just a delay," he said. "I don't think it will result in a
commutation. But I guess it depends on how his appellate lawyers intend to
frame the issue, if they're going to suggest something intentional."
(source: Dallas Morning News)
Inmate set to die wins reprieve----Dallas DA, citing new evidence,
withdraws execution request.
Condemned prisoner Joseph Lave was spared execution Thursday when the
Dallas County district attorney's office withdrew its request that he be
given a lethal injection for his part in the gruesome slayings of 2
sporting goods store workers during a robbery 15 years ago.
It's the 2nd execution in recent weeks to be stopped in Texas.
2 weeks ago, Gov. Rick Perry commuted Kenneth Foster's death sentence to
life in prison on the rare recommendation of the Board of Pardons and
Paroles. Perry said he objected to Foster having been tried with his
Lave's commutation request to the board was rejected Tuesday, 7-0.
Unlike Foster, Lave was tried alone in Dallas County, but both he and
Foster were convicted under Texas' unique law of parties, which makes
eligible for execution anyone involved in a capital crime.
State District Judge Andy Chatham signed the request from Dallas County
District Attorney Craig Watkins as the U.S. Supreme Court was considering
an appeal from Lave's attorneys to halt the punishment.
"We're gratified with the action of the district attorney's office," said
David Botsford, one of Lave's lawyers.
Mike Ware, special assistant in Watkins' conviction integrity unit, said
Thursday that prosecutors discovered evidence that had not been turned
over to Lave's defense attorneys.
The evidence, a 2nd polygraph test given co-defendant Timothy Bates, came
to light within the past few days, Ware said. Though Ware wouldn't
describe the polygraph results in detail, it "goes to his credibility," he
Lave's lawyers had been requesting the information for years as part of
the post-conviction process, and Ware said it appeared that the
administrations of two previous district attorneys failed to turn it over.
Watkins became Dallas County district attorney in January.
The two slaying victims, Justin Marquart and Frederick Banzaf, both 18,
along with the store's assistant manager, Angie King, were surprised by
three intruders who got into the store in Richardson, a north Dallas
suburb, just after it had closed the night before Thanksgiving 1992.
Marquart and Banzaf's heads were pounded with the claw end of a hammer and
then they were nearly decapitated with a knife slashed across their
King, then 22, survived. She identified one of the attackers as co-worker
James Langston, 26.
Hours later, Langston tried to run over a police officer attempting to
question him and was shot and killed. Inside his boot, police found a
business card from the store with the name and phone number of Bates
written on the back. When Bates was arrested, he implicated Lave, who
surrendered a few days later.
King was among the prosecution witnesses, identifying the robbers as Bates
and Langston, who had worked at the store for about a year. King told of
hearing a third voice, which prosecutors said was Lave's. Items from the
store were found at his home, and blood was detected on his clothing.
Lave's appeal to the Supreme Court focused on what his lawyers argued was
his trial attorneys' inability to cross-examine Bates and challenge
damaging statements from him. Bates refused to testify for Lave, and a
police officer told jurors of his interview with Bates.
Lave's attorneys said new procedures under a Supreme Court ruling, issued
after Lave's conviction, wouldn't allow such testimony now and should be
Bates took a life prison term, agreeing in a plea bargain to cooperate
Lave was tried 1st for Banzaf's slaying, turning down a plea deal, and got
the life sentence that prosecutors sought. In a 2nd trial, for Marquart's
murder, jurors gave Lave death.
(source: Associated Press)
Execution Stayed - Reason's A Stunner The 1992 crime in question was
horrific. 2 employees in a Richardson sporting goods store were brutally
murdered in what began as a robbery. A lone survivor, left for dead on the
bloody floor, called police. Who within hours, tracked down, then killed,
James Langston, as he tried to run officers down with his car. Langston
had worked at the store. Police then arrested Timothy Bates, who led them
to Lave. According to attorneys, it was unclear in the trial whether Bates
and Lave handled weapons in the murders. The witness identified Langston
and Bates, not Lave. Bates took a plea deal for life in prison. But he
also took several polygraph - or lie detector - tests. Yet the 2nd test,
according to Mike Ware, Assistant Dallas DA investigating this case, was
never turned over to Lave's lawyers.
Michael Ware, Assistant Dallas DA: One of biggest problems we had with non
disclosure of this polygraph is that Mr. Lave's attorneys had consistently
requested this polygraph and in fact it appears that misrepresentations
were made to the courts in the post conviction proceedings - by attorneys
no longer with this office, in the prior administration - that the
polygraph didn't even exist.
Zeeble: Ware said results of that test could've raised serious questions
about the believability of Bates, who testified about Lave's involvement
in the crime. Ware also said prosecutorial misrepresentation about this
2nd polygraph test affected Lave's court appeals.
Ware: We didn't feel it would be right to allow the execution to go
through without disclosing this information to Mr Lave's attorneys.
Zeeble: Those attorneys are now going over the new evidence, which Ware
said came to light in the just the past few days. That's why Dallas DA
Craig Watkins requested the execution stay. It surprised Steve Hall,
director of the Standown Texas Project which opposes the death penalty, &
advocates for best practices in the criminal justice system.
Steve Hall, Director of the Standown Texas Project: That's very unusual. I
can't recall the last time in Texas it's happened.
Zeeble: Supreme Courts stop executions. So do governors. Rick Perry did a
few weeks back, when he commuted Kenneth Foster's death sentence to life
without parole But DA's usually don't. They push the death sentence.
Attorney Richard Franklin, Lave's first defense attorney, is satisfied by
Richard Franklin, Lave Defense Attorney: Bates is serving life in prison.
I think Bates and Lave should get the same punishment. There's no reason
in the world for Lave to be executed and Bates not.
Zeeble: For now, he won't be. It's up to lawyers and more investigators
before any decision's made to re-try Lave, maintain the execution stay, or
issue a new execution date. Lawyers say this case raises questions about
the state's Law of Parties, which finds all participants equally guilty of
heinous crimes. That law was an issue in this case, and the one in which
Governor Perry commuted a death sentence.
(source: KERA News)
Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man? Who Cares!
A judge has blocked prosecutors from destroying a hair found at scene of
the murder for which Claude Jones was convicted, and executed in 2000. DNA
testing will now be done to determine if it matches Jones. It's not just
any hair. It's the hair that prosecutors matched to the defendant at trial
by way of a hair fiber analyst.
Hair fiber analysis is, to say the least, an imperfect science. It has led
to wrongful convictions before, and professional prosecution hair fiber
witnesses have a history of exaggerating the certitude of their findings.
I haven't read enough about this particular case to have an opinion on it.
I note it mostly because of the following passage, which I find absolutely
The groups, represented by attorneys at Mayer Brown LLP, filed the court
motions Friday after the San Jacinto District Attorney refused to agree to
DNA testing - and also refused to agree not to destroy the evidence while
courts consider whether DNA testing can be conducted.
Emphasis mine. Now, I can think of some reasons why a prosecutor would
want to destroy a piece of physical evidence that could prove that the
state executed an innocent man. But none of them are compatible
with...um...being a human being.
Perhaps, for example, the prosecutor was one of the prosecutors who worked
on the case, and doesn't want the stain on his career that might come with
a wrongful execution. Perhaps he wants to avoid the inevitable stain on
Texas' already execution-happy reputation that would come with proof that
the state executed an innocent man. Perhaps he knows that proof of a
wrongful execution will make it much more difficult for him to win death
penalty cases in the future.
But here's the thing: While I can perhaps see a prosecutor harboring such
sentiment deep down inside, I can't possibly conceive of anyone actually
making these sorts of arguments publicly. Or with a straight face.
Because, you see, if Texas did execute an innocent man, all of those
things should happen. Because...well...because Texas...would have executed
an innocent man.
And if Texas did execute an innocent man, that Texans might find out about
it-and subsequently raise understandable questions about the morality and
efficacy of the death penalty-isn't something to be avoided, it's
something that damned-well ought to happen. Because-at risk of repeating
myself--Texas would have executed an innocent man.
What possible not-devoid-of-all-morality argument could a prosecutor
possibly make for being permitted to destroy evidence that might prove an
innocent man was executed?
I really can't think of one.
(source: Radley Balko, Reason Online)
DA's office remains on death row case
The Tarrant County district attorney's office will not be removed from the
appellate case of Death Row inmate Chelsea Richardson, at least for now.
On Thursday, visiting state District Judge Steven Herod denied a motion by
Bob Ford, Richardson's appellate attorney, to have the district attorney's
office thrown off the case on allegations that prosecutors improperly
asked state District Judge Everett Young to sign an order while Ford was
But the issue is far from over.
Ford has cited a second reason why he thinks the district attorney's
office should be removed from his client's appeal: prosecutorial
misconduct. Herod did not take up that issue on Thursday and, instead,
reset the hearing for Jan. 30.
Here's a summary of the case and what is going on:
Richardson, 23, is on women's Death Row after being convicted of capital
murder in the brutal slayings of her boyfriend's parents, Rick and Suzanna
Wamsley. Officials have said Richardson, her boyfriend, Andrew Wamsley,
and friend Susanna Toledano killed the couple so Andrew Wamsley could
collect his parents' estate. Toledano and Wamsley are serving life
sentences. Richardson, portrayed as the mastermind in the plot, received
the death penalty.
Ford, who is Richardson's court-appointed attorney, filed a
post-conviction writ of habeas corpus, which basically alleges that
Richardson was illegally convicted because of legal errors and misconduct.
He wants to eventually win Richardson a new trial or have her sentence
changed to life in prison. Among other things, Ford contends that the
judge was biased, the defense attorneys were ineffective and the
prosecutors were dishonest.
Ford filed two separate motions seeking to have the district attorney's
office removed from Richardson's appeal. Ford lost the first issue, which
accused prosecutors of improperly asking Young to sign an order denying
Ford a subpoena while Ford was on vacation.
The second issue, which has not been decided, deals with alleged
prosecutorial misconduct by prosecutor Mike Parrish.
Ford alleges that Parrish interfered with Richardson's attorney-client
privilege before her arrest when he failed to reveal to a judge or a grand
jury foreman that he had been indirectly receiving information from her
attorney's legal assistant about the case.
Prosecutors Chuck Mallin and Steve Conder have not filed a response to
Ford's allegations in his writ, but have said they are without merit. The
prosecutors have 120 days from the date Ford filed his writ -- July 16 --
to file their response. They indicated Thursday that they plan to ask for
a 60-day extension.
What is next
Judge Herod, an Eastland County judge appointed to hear the issues, wants
Mallin and Conder to file their response to Ford's writ before he holds a
hearing on whether to remove the district attorney's office from the case.
He has recessed the case until Jan. 30.
(source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
SAPD is taking a bruising over reports of pummelings by cops
The toughest job in the city might be trying to mask the black-and-blue
face of the San Antonio Police Department.
I don't know if there's enough makeup in South Texas to cover the
The latest blow comes from the arrest of officer Bryan Baldwin. He's been
charged with assaulting a man in a North St. Mary's Street parking lot.
The arrest affidavit says Baldwin repeatedly punched Rogelio Romero in the
True or not, allegations of officer misconduct are hitting San Antonio
like the rat-a-tat-tat of an assault rifle. For those struggling to keep
Ten women recently sued the city, alleging female officers subjected them
to humiliating strip searches without cause.
4 men say one officer subjected them to illegal body cavity searches.
SAPD recently fired detective Keith Alfaro after he was charged with
assaulting an 18-year-old woman.
SAPD placed officer Shane Sizemore on administrative duty in July after he
was charged with assaulting his girlfriend.
The city agreed 2 weeks ago to pay $80,000 to a 25-year-old man who was
shot by a police officer.
"I think the shooting was unjustified and shouldn't have been done," Mayor
Phil Hardberger told the Express-News. "I think we were in the wrong."
Now there's something you don't often hear. We were wrong. SAPD seems to
have a hard time saying that.
The department did not say it after former Assistant Chief Jerry Pittman
alarmed police with an extramarital, bloody motel sheet incident. SAPD let
The department did not apologize after auditors said former Assistant
Chief Tyrone Powers obstructed a review of a multimillion-dollar computer
disaster. SAPD allowed Powers to "retire."
The department did not blush when it promoted a man who slept with a
prostitute to assistant chief. Instead, Police Chief Bill McManus defended
his new hire.
The department did not admit to wrongdoing after an officer was
reprimanded for an improper strip search. The chief wrote to the victim,
saying "corrective action" had been taken.
I could go on, but this is a column - not an encyclopedia. Suffice it to
say that complaints of officer abuse, assaults, unlawful search and
seizures and racial profiling are piling up, and SAPD reacts predictably:
We'll look into it.
For the record, citizens filed 133 formal or serious complaints with
Internal Affairs from Jan. 13 through Aug. 23. Officers say many others
were lodged but never found their way to Internal Affairs.
Out of this muck steps Tamara Vaughan, an 18-year-old who says an off-duty
detective assaulted her at a community pool. After she appeared on TV with
a bruised face, SAPD hastened an Internal Affairs investigation of Alfaro.
Alfaro lost his job. He still faces criminal charges, but that's not all.
Vaughan is black, and says Alfaro used a racial slur before attacking her.
The FBI initiated a Civil Rights violations case against Alfaro and has
forwarded its findings to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
When will this end? The case of 18-year-old Erin McCutchen is just
McCutchen says she got drunk, passed out and knocked out the window of a
patrol car. But she also has swollen black eyes and broken facial bones
from a police beating while she was handcuffed. The officer says he struck
McCutchen in the head to protect her from oncoming traffic.
Whatever the truth here, the beatings are taking a toll. If you haven't
noticed, SAPD looks a lot like McCutchen's pummeled face.
(source: San Antonio Express-News)
U.S. sues Dallas County, sheriff over jail conditions
Federal prosecutors allege in a lawsuit that inmates at the Dallas County
Jail are at risk of harm because of unsafe jail conditions and a lack of
proper health care.
The U.S. Attorney's Office asked the court to require Dallas County to
take actions to correct deficiencies at the jail, among the largest
complexes in the country. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the federal
government contends Dallas County and Sheriff Lupe Valdez have known about
problems at the jail for some time but have failed to address them
By failing to fix the inadequacies, the rights of the inmates were
violated, the suit said.
"Through the acts and omissions...Defendants have exhibited deliberate
indifference to the health and safety of Dallas County Jail inmates," the
suit said. The federal government says court action is necessary to effect
A telephone message left Thursday afternoon for a sheriff's spokesman was
not immediately returned. A message left Thursday evening at the office of
Dallas County Judge Jim Foster wasn't immediately returned.
Federal officials contend the jail hasn't provided adequate medical and
mental health care to inmates and hasn't ensured a safe and sanitary
environment for detainees, the lawsuit contends.
"This problem has been simmering and festering for at least 10 years,"
said David Finn, a Dallas attorney and former judge.
Earlier this year, county officials approved a nearly $1 million
settlement with the families of three mentally ill inmates who were denied
medication while in the jail. A little more than half of the award went to
James Mims, a jail inmate whose psychiatric medications were withheld for
two months in 2004. Mims nearly died when water was shut off in his cell
for two weeks, said Finn, who represented the inmate.
The problems aren't just in dealing with mentally ill inmates, but also
extend to people who require medication, such as diabetics, said Finn.
"We're talking about basic health care. If people treated animals this
way, they would be ... prosecuted," he said.
A federal report sent to Dallas officials in December said the jail
violated the constitutional rights of inmates by failing to provide
adequate medical and mental health care.
A separate report from February 2005 found that lapses in medical care in
the Dallas County jail system resulted in undetected illnesses, excess
costs and risks to the public. That report was produced at the request of
then-County Judge Margaret Keliher.
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards warned the county earlier this year
to fix jail staffing problems or face possible closure. Jail officials
said then they want to get the population down to about 6,000. They've
held as many as 7,770 inmates.
Valdez, who was elected more than 2 years ago, is responsible for the
county's 5 jail facilities. The complex houses both detainees awaiting
trial and sentenced inmates.
(source: Associated Press)
Texas death row inmate wins another appeal----Court says jury did not get
proper instruction in Houston case
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has for the second time handed
convicted killer Raymond DeLeon Martinez, sentenced to die for the 1983
robbery-murder of a Houston tavern owner, a chance to avoid execution.
In a unanimous ruling handed down this week, the court invalidated
Martinez's 1989 death sentence and remanded the case to the trial court
for another punishment hearing. If Martinez is sentenced to life, he would
be eligible for parole consideration.
Writing for the court, Judge Barbara Parker Hervey found that state
District Judge Bob Burdette's charge to the jurors in 1989 failed to
provide them with a vehicle for considering possible mitigating evidence,
specifically Martinez's history of mental illness.
The ruling marks the second time the high court has intervened on
Martinez's behalf. In 1988, the court overturned his 1984 capital murder
conviction and ordered a new trial, citing irregularities in jury
Martinez, 61, described by authorities as a one-time leader in the Texas
Syndicate prison gang, was condemned for the July 1983 murder-robbery of
Prosecutors in the 1989 trial argued that Martinez and his accomplices,
James Kirtley and Antonio Rojas, robbed Chavis' tavern to raise money to
set up a methamphetamine lab and a marijuana-rowing operation.
Kirtley was sentenced to 25 years in prison; Rojas, 50.
Assistant District Attorney Lynn Hardaway, who has represented the state
in the case's most recent stage, said the decision on whether to again
push for the death penalty will be made by District Attorney Chuck
"This was a bad case," she said. "His own family testified against him."
At the time of his 1984 trial, Martinez also had been charged with capital
murder in the death of Moses Mendez, a Houston bar patron; aggravated
robbery in a Houston tavern stickup; murder in the Fort Worth deaths of
his sister, Julia Gonzales, and her boyfriend, Guillermo Chavez; and
murder in the Houston killing of Tracy Lynn Pelkey. All those crimes
occurred in 1983.
In its latest ruling, the court of appeals noted that evidence at
Martinez's 1989 trial revealed that he had been imprisoned 14 years prior
to being paroled in December 1982.
In the next eight months, prosecutors argued at the trial, he left "a
trail of bodies everywhere." Evidence presented at trial suggested
Martinez committed the crimes to enhance his standing in the prison gang.
In 1967, a Comanche County jury found Martinez not guilty of a burglary
charge by reason of insanity. He was sent to Rusk State Hospital, where he
was treated until October 1968 when he was released after his sanity was
He was treated 3 times at the Wichita Falls State Hospital between
December 1966 and October 1968.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said
Martinez will remain on death row at Livingston's Polunksy Unit until
court orders are forwarded to prison officials.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
Suspect named in girls death
Navarro County law enforcement officials announced the arrest of Kevin
Wayne Anders, 32, of Purdon for possession of child pornography and named
him as the "primary suspect in the sexual assault and murder of Hanna
Mack is the 6-year-old girl found dead Monday morning, hanged in the
garage at her family's residence. A medical examiners preliminary
findings, released Wednesday, confirmed that a sexual assault had also
taken place and listed the cause of death as "homicidal violence."
Anders was arrested late Wednesday evening after NCSO officials discovered
pornographic images of children on a computer from the crime scene. It is
likely the same computer the Daily Sun reported had been taken Tuesday to
the crime lab of the Texas Department of Public Safety in Waco.
"Anders was the male residing in the same house with the family of little
Hanna Mack, who was found murdered this past Monday," Cox said, reading
prepared remarks to a crowd of local and Dallas Metroplex media
representatives at a press conference held in the justice of the peace
courtroom. "Anders was located at a residence in western Navarro County
and was taken into custody without incident."
Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Gray issued the arrest warrant
Wednesday and arraigned Anders on the child pornography charges Thursday
morning, setting the suspects bond at $100,000.
"He remains in the Navarro County jail and is the current primary suspect
in the sexual assault and murder of Hanna Mack," Cox said. "Investigators
are continuing to follow all investigative leads in the case as they await
details from the crime laboratory."
The crime lab reference likely refers to DNA evidence law enforcement
officials have had ample time to collect, and would be a necessary next
step in the investigation. Typical DNA analysis and comparisons take up to
6 weeks before results are returned to the requesting agency.
Hanna Mack's death qualifies under the capital murder statute and could be
subject to the death penalty. Anders' present child pornography charge is
a 3rd degree felony.
Anders will likely claim to be indigent and request legal counsel be
appointed. Only 2 Navarro County lawyers are certified to represent a
criminal defendant in a death penalty case Rob Dunn and Kerri Anderson
Donica, both Corsicana attorneys.
It is believed that Donica handled the last such case, that of Michael
Zoch, who was accused of sexually assaulting and killing his stepdaughter,
10-year-old April Bryant.
(source: Athens Review)
Defendant's relative weeps for cops,
They're talking everywhere else in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico about
last weekend's slayings of 3 Odessa policemen but still not much above a
whisper in this traumatized city, where a tearful, grief-bowed relative of
the man charged with the slayings read a brief statement and fled an 11 a.
m. Thursday news conference without taking questions.
Patricia Burke, who said she is a cousin of Larry Neil White's wife Judy
but declined to say where she lives, had called reporters to a perhaps
symbolically weeping fountain in Nol Heritage Park Plaza on West Fifth
Street near downtown to express sympathy for the families of slain OPD
Officers Scott Gardner, Arlie Jones and Abel Marquez.
"On behalf of our family, all we can say is that our thoughts and prayers
are with the families of the officers," Burke said. "We're still in shock
over what happened Saturday."
Breaking into tears and barely able to finish her handwritten statement,
the woman sobbed, "We are fully cooperating with the law enforcement and
trying to deal with this tragedy. We would appreciate any respect for our
privacy that you can give us."
When asked if she could provide more insights about White, a Marine Corps
Vietnam veteran with a reported drinking problem, Burke said, "We may be
able to offer further information later."
She arrived and left with KOSA TV, Channel 7, reporter Melissa Correa, who
said White's wife has been staying with relatives "in the area" since
leaving her 2912 Ventura Ave. home just inside Loop 338 near West
University Boulevard, where the shotgun shootings took place in the
Mrs. White had called 911 at 6:01 p.m. Saturday to say her husband was
intoxicated and had been beating her, according to OPD records.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland is awaiting a report from the
Texas Rangers but indicated Thursday afternoon that he expects to seek
White's execution by lethal injection in the Texas Department of Criminal
"Until I get the Rangers' file, I can only tell you I will seek justice
for these fallen officers," Bland said. "I can't make a formal decision
until then, but I can say there is a reason the death penalty exists.
"The Rangers are being very thorough and they have been good about keeping
us updated on the investigation. The next step will be presenting the case
to a grand jury.
"The community is heartbroken and devastated, but we have come together to
support the Odessa Police Department and law enforcement. I think with
time, we'll slowly get better."
The defendant's court-appointed lawyer, H.W. "Woody" Leverett Jr. of
Midland, said he must of necessity limit his comments.
Named on Tuesday to defend White by 70th District Court Judge Denn Whalen,
Leverett is one of fewer than a half dozen Permian Basin lawyers qualified
by the State Bar of Texas to represent someone against whom the death
penalty is being sought.
"It's difficult for everybody," said Leverett, acknowledging he had just
met with his client at Ector County Jail but declining to tell anything
more about him or his current state of mind.
"I know there is a lot of curiosity and interest in this case, but if I
start trying it in the media, there will be no end to it," said Leverett
Thousands of mourners, many in uniform from throughout the region and
beyond, attended Wednesday's funerals of Jones and Gardner and lined
Odessa streets en route to Sunset Memorial Gardens.
A Hubbard Kelly Funeral Home spokeswoman said services were pending there
for Marquez, who died at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday at University Medical Center
in Lubbock just as Jones' services were being completed with full police
honors. "The family has not come in and the body is not here yet," she
White is accused of shooting all 3 men in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun
firing heavy buckshot.
Gardner and Jones were found dead in the backyard, but Associated Press
reporter Betsy Blaney said Marquez spoke with his mother on a cell phone
on the way to Medical Center Hospital, got out of the OPD patrol car in
which he was transported and incredibly walked under his own power into
the emergency room before finally losing consciousness on a table, never
to regain it.
(source: Midland Reporter-Telegram)
Rubio's Lawyer Speaks Out About Court Decision----Man accused of murder
will return to Valley
In Brownsville, an attorney for John Allen Rubio still insists his client
was insane at the time he murdered his 3 children. An appeals court
overturned Rubio's conviction.
Nat Perez says he never agreed with the death penalty verdict. He was
Rubio's court appointed attorney.
The prosecution's evidence included written and videotaped testimony from
Rubio's common-law wife, Angela Camacho.
Perez says, "When we went to trial, the state didn't seek to admit just
one confession from Camacho. They admitted all 3. And from her statements,
each said something different. And so it's right there - face value that
you have unreliability,"
The Texas Court of Appeals says that evidence shouldn't have been allowed
at all, since the defense wasn't able to challenge the statements or
Since the conviction was overturned, Rubio is no longer on death row.
He'll have to be tried all over again. He's expected back in Cameron
County sometime soon.
We've learned Perez is still Rubio's attorney of record. But as of right
now, it is unknown whether or not he'll represent Rubio in his retrial.
(source: News Channel 5)
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