[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS
rhalperi at smu.edu
Mon Sep 19 23:05:26 CDT 2011
3rd death date in 2011 for convicted rape-murderer
A Texas inmate sentenced to die for the rape-slaying of a Fort Worth woman
nearly a decade ago, who has been spared from the death chamber twice this year
amid appeals, is again scheduled to be executed.
Cleve Foster, 47, is set to die Tuesday evening for fatally shooting
30-year-old Nyaneur Pal, whose body was found in a ditch by pipeline workers on
Valentine's Day 2002. Foster's execution would be the 11th this year in Texas,
the nation's most active death penalty state.
"God has tapped me on the shoulder," Foster said recently from a small visiting
cage outside death row. "I'm not afraid."
Foster won his first reprieve in January from the U.S. Supreme Court, which
halted his execution again in April when it agreed to reconsider an appeal that
raised claims of innocence and poor legal assistance early on in his case.
His execution was rescheduled for Tuesday after the high court turned down that
Foster's attorney have filed another appeal contending he did not commit the
murder and that poor legal help at his trial and in early stages of his appeal
merited another reprieve and review of his case.
State attorneys argued the appeal was "nothing more than a calculated and
meritless attempt to postpone his already twice-delayed execution," according
to Stephen Hoffman, an assistant attorney general.
"I'm innocent," Foster said. "I'm saying that today and I'll say it when they
take me to the gurney."
Foster and a companion, Sheldon Ward, both were sentenced to death for fatally
shooting Pal, who came to the U.S. from Sudan and was known as Mary. Pal, who
worked at a country club, was seen talking with Foster and Ward at a Fort Worth
bar and her body was found hours later in a ditch off a Tarrant County road.
She'd been shot once in the head.
A gun found in the motel room where Foster and Ward lived was identified as the
It also was identified as the gun used two months earlier to kill 22-year-old
Rachel Urnosky at her Fort Worth apartment. Foster and Ward were implicated but
never tried in Urnosky's slaying.
"These were bad guys," Ben Leonard, one of the prosecutors at Foster's trial,
recalled. "Mary Pal came from the Sudan, one of the most terrible places in the
world to live, and she came here looking for freedom, here to Fort Worth, to be
murdered by these 2 guys."
Foster blamed Pal's death on Ward, who was one of his Army recruits.
Prosecutors said evidence showed Foster actively participated in the woman's
killing, offered no credible explanations, lied and gave contradictory stories
about his sexual activities with Pal.
The 2 men were tried and convicted separately. Pal's blood and tissue was found
on the weapon and DNA evidence showed both men had sex with Pal. Ward said the
sex was consensual. Foster said he was passed out from sleeping pills at the
time Pal would have been murdered.
"I think the problem was he and Ward got involved in drugs, especially
methamphetamines, and were sort of going around and doing not some very smart
things," Rex Barnett, one of Foster's trial lawyers, said.
Ward died of cancer last year while on death row.
In the Urnosky case, Foster told police he and Ward were the woman's apartment
in December 2001 but said they left after she refused to have sex with them.
She was found in her bed, fatally shot, after failing to show up for work.
Urnosky was an honors graduate from Texas Tech in 2000, an officer with the
Baptist Student Mission at the school in Lubbock and had spent her spring
breaks on mission trips.
Foster, who grew up in Henderson, Ky., spent nearly 2 decades in the Army,
reached the rank of sergeant first class, was deployed to the Middle East
during Desert Storm and eventually was assigned to Fort Worth as a recruiter.
Records showed court martial proceedings were started against him after
allegations he gave alcohol to underage students as a recruiter and had sex
with an underage potential recruit. He was denied re-enlistment in the Army and
had been out only a short time when the slayings occurred.
Another execution, scheduled for Wednesday, would send Lawrence Russell Brewer
to the death house. Brewer, 44, is 1 of 2 white men condemned for the notorious
dragging death murder of a black man, James Byrd Jr., in East Texas' Jasper
County more than 13 years ago.
(source: Associated Press)
3rd Death Date in 2011 for Convicted Rape-Murderer
Condemned inmate Cleve Foster already has been spared twice this year from the
Texas death chamber and says he's not concerned another execution date is
looming this week.
The 47-year-old Foster is set to die Tuesday evening in Huntsville for the
rape-slaying of a woman in Fort Worth nearly a decade ago.
Foster was set to die in January and in April and received reprieves each time
from the U.S. Supreme Court. His attorneys are back at the high court seeking
to delay the punishment again.
Foster is a former Army recruiter. He says he's not afraid but insists he's
A 2nd man sent to death row with Foster for the slaying died last year of
cancer. They also both were linked to a second murder in Fort Worth.
(source: KBTX News)
Texas death penalty case shows that details of fairness are crucial
Texas death row inmate Duane Edward Buck had eaten his last meal Thursday
evening and was praying when news came at around 7:40 p.m. that the U.S.
Supreme Court had issued a stay to stop his execution.
Lawyers for Buck had been working for weeks to prevent his death because the
punishment phase of his trial was tainted by racially biased testimony. Their
petition, however, was received unsympathetically by high state officials,
including the governor, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Buck, who was found guilty of killing 2 people in Houston in 1995, should get a
new sentencing hearing to fairly determine his punishment for those murders.
Even a former Texas attorney general has said as much.
During Buck's 1997 trial, his lawyers called psychologist Walter Quijano to
testify that he did not believe, based on several factors, that Buck would be
dangerous in the future. On cross-examination, however, the prosecution asked
if the fact that Buck is African-American increased the likelihood he would be
more dangerous in the future. The psychologist said it did.
In final arguments, the state implored jurors to find that Buck posed a future
threat and should receive a death sentence rather than life in prison.
In Texas, future dangerousness is a key factor in whether a convicted killer
receives the death penalty.
Quijano, as it turned out, was a star "expert" witness in several capital
cases, using his race-based theory as the determination of a defendant's
potential future danger.
One of those cases, in which Victor Hugo Saldano was sentenced to death, was
appealed to the Supreme Court. At the time, in 2000, then-state Attorney
General John Cornyn (now a U.S. senator) sided with the accused's argument that
the race-based testimony was improper.
Cornyn said: "As I explained in a filing before the United States Supreme Court
... it is inappropriate to allow race to be considered as a factor in our
criminal justice system. ... The people of Texas want and deserve a system that
affords the same fairness to everyone. I will continue to do everything I can
to assure Texans of our commitment to an equitable criminal justice system."
Cornyn remained mum throughout the attempts to halt Buck's execution. But 11
years ago, he said his office had audited eight other cases in which Quijano
6 of the 8, including Buck's, were similar to Saldano's, Cornyn said.
5 of those defendants got new hearings, all resulting in death sentences. Buck
did not get a new punishment trial because, his lawyer Kate Black told the
Texas Tribune, his case was in state court when Cornyn's findings were
announced. That meant that the district attorney, rather than the attorney
general, had jurisdiction.
It is worth noting that recently a former Harris County assistant district
attorney who was a prosecutor in Buck's case, as well as a surviving victim of
the crime, joined in calling for clemency for him.
The Star- Telegram Editorial Board has repeatedly said that, because capital
punishment is irreversible, the process that leads to it must always be as
fair, thorough and constitutionally errorless as possible.
No system is perfect, and it would be unrealistic to assume that it would be,
even in cases calling for the death penalty. That makes it all the more
important that when it is obvious a mistake has been made that could determine
life or death, we do all in our power to correct it.
A clear error occurred in Buck's case when improper testimony was included. A
new sentencing hearing could correct it. And Texas and other states that
continue to use the death penalty should continue working to make the process
fair and error-free.
(source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Texas teen accused of Emirati's murder faces death
Detone Lewayne Price, 18, and Corey Trevon Perry, 17, both from Houston, Texas,
are charged with the capital murder of Salem Saif Al Mazroui.
It is the most serious murder charge under Texas law. If convicted, Mr Price
would be eligible for the death penalty but Mr Perry would not because he is
Mr Price has been charged with 3 other crimes this year. In February, he was
charged with aggravated robbery using a deadly weapon, and unauthorised use of
a motor vehicle. While in jail on that offence, he was charged with having
stolen a laptop and cash in January.
Mr Price was free on bail when he was arrested on August 10 for the murder of
Captain Al Mazroui.
Mr Perry has no arrests as an adult. Any criminal history before he turned 17
is not on public record.
The 2 are being held in separate Harris County jails in line with a court order
made on August 18. They will remain separate during transport to and from the
court. Prosecutors would not say why the 2 were being kept apart.
Mr Price will appear tomorrow at the Harris County 178th criminal district
court. Mr Perry will appear at the same court on October 13.
According to the criminal complaint, Captain Al Mazroui, 28, and his father
arrived at their apartment in the San Marin complex in south-west Houston at
about 10.30pm on August 7. Mr Al Mazroui went inside while his son waited in
Soon after, Mr Perry and Mr Price forced their way inside with Captain Al
Mazroui and locked the door behind them.
Mr Perry had a gun and was threatening both of them, but Mr Al Mazroui told
police he did not understand what the two young men were saying, according to
He told police Mr Perry kept armed watch over him and his son while Mr Price,
who was unarmed, searched them and their apartment for valuables.
Mr Al Mazroui said Mr Price searched him first. When Mr Price moved to search
Captain Al Mazroui, his father rushed to the door to try to escape.
He was able to unlock and open the door before Mr Price tried to stop him.
Captain Al Mazroui rushed to help his father escape.
Mr Al Mazroui Sr told police he was able to get outside, but heard two or three
shots and saw his son fall to the ground.
Captain Al Mazroui was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital, where he was
According to the complaint, Mr Price and Mr Perry then drove away in the Al
Mazrouis' car, which had been left running. It was later found abandoned.
Evidence found in the car led to the arrest of the 2 teenagers and Mr Al
Mazroui picked Mr Perry out of a photo lineup.
Capital murder charges can be filed when murder is committed in the course of a
robbery. It is punishable by death.
Texas has executed more inmates than any other US state since the death penalty
was reinstated in 1976.
Donna Hawkins, of the Harris County district attorney's public information
office, said the district attorney would decide whether to pursue the death
penalty as the trial progressed.
Jury selection for Mr Price's trial requires a "death-qualified" panel, the
members of which are not categorically opposed to capital punishment, but who
also would consider life imprisonment in a capital murder case.
If the jury does not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Perry and Mr Price
are guilty of capital murder, they may still be convicted of murder or a lesser
Captain Al Mazroui's body was returned to the UAE on August 11. Family members
took his body from Dubai International Airport to his hometown of Adhen in Ras
Al Khaimah, where he was buried on August 12.
His father had been receiving cancer treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center
(source: The National)
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