11 April 2012 ~ 11 Comments

New Execution Date Set for Anthony Bartee, DNA Testing Still Not Completed

Take Action Now!  Request a Reprieve for Anthony Bartee

On May 2, 2012, Anthony Bartee may be put to death by the State of Texas, even though DNA testing ordered recently by State District Judge Mary Román has not been completed or analyzed.

Bartee was originally scheduled to be executed on February 28, 2012, despite the fact that the Bexar County Criminal Investigation Laboratory has not tested pieces of DNA evidence that were collected from the crime scene. Even after being ordered to test this evidence by Judge Román in 2007, neither the Bexar County crime lab nor the DPS lab in Austin performed the ordered tests on all available evidence.  Bartee was convicted of the 1996 murder of his friend David Cook in San Antonio.  He has consistently maintained that although he was present at the house, he did not kill Cook.

Bartee received a reprieve on February 23, 2012 when Judge Román withdrew the execution warrant so that additional DNA testing could be conducted on the strands of hair found in the hands of the victim.  She also ordered the forensic lab to provide a detailed and comprehensive report to the court with an analysis of the results.  According to Bartee’s attorneys, this testing still has not been performed.  Yet, inexplicably, Judge Román has set another execution date – May 2, 2012.

 

Bartee’s attorneys assert that chapter 64 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure obligates the court to hold a hearing after the testing has been conducted and after examining the results to determine whether this evidence would have made a difference in the outcome of the trial, had it been available to the jury.  At this point, there is less than three weeks for the testing to be completed and fully considered by the courts before Bartee is scheduled to be put to death.

Take action now!

 

  • Write or fax the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry to urge clemency or a 120-day reprieve for Anthony Bartee (see below for addresses and talking points).
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, expressing concerns about the death penalty’s irreversible risk of error and calling for its repeal.
  • Post information about this case on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Additional Background and Talking Points for Letters to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Rick Perry

Untested DNA Evidence

While performing an autopsy on the victim, David Cook, the medical examiner found hairs in both of his hands. On June 18, 2007, Trial Judge Mary Román ordered that these hairs be tested by the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) lab in Austin. According to a report later issued by the DPS crime lab, hairs found in Cook’s left hand were tested and not found to belong to Bartee. This same report confirmed that no DNA was extracted during these proceedings from the hairs found in the right hand of David Cook.

 

Even after Judge Román ordered the additional testing of all forensic DNA evidence in the Bartee case on July 21, 2010, the hairs taken from the right hand of the murder victim remain frozen at the DPS crime lab in Austin. The official response to the judge’s request from Bexar County Crime Lab claimed that “no remaining physical evidence [was] available for additional forensic DNA testing,” even though the report from the DPS confirms this is not the case.

 

At a hearing in November of 2010, Judge Román used an incomplete report that only contained information from the DNA test performed on the evidence collected from the left hand of the victim. This report did not contain any information on the still frozen and untested hairs found in the victim’s right hand. From this incomplete report, Judge Román concluded that though the hair tested did not belong to Bartee, it could have belonged to David Cook and, as such, did not exonerate Bartee.

 

To date, 17 inmates on death row in the United States have been exonerated by use of DNA testing. Shouldn’t every prisoner get this chance when DNA evidence is available? Shouldn’t Texas insist on the highest standards of evidence proving guilt, especially in cases where the punishment is irreversible?

 

A Serious Conflict of Interest Involving a Trial Attorney

A severe conflict of interest took place in this case during the trial. This conflict involved Michael Sawyer, the defense attorney sitting second chair for Bartee, and his relationship with David Cook, the victim.  This relationship was revealed on April 13, 1998, on the morning the actual trial was to begin, when Sawyer “realized” that he knew the victim, David Cook, and the victim’s entire family.

 

Although Sawyer claims that he was not aware of his familiarity with the entire Cook family throughout the trial’s previous month-long seating of the jury, a clear conflict of interest existed and potentially impacted the jury selection process.

 

The judge allowed Sawyer to withdraw from the case, but she denied the motion for a mistrial made by Bartee’s other attorney, Vincent Callahan. When claims that the trial was tainted by Sawyer’s conflict of interest were made in Bartee’s state habeas petition, the judge denied relief by citing previous case law showing that Texas courts required defendants to prove that but for the conflict of interest, the results of the trial would have been different.

 

On September 12, 2007, however, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that this was not the proper standard by which to analyze claims involving conflicts of interest. Due to this change in the standard applied to claims involving conflicts of interest in Texas, Anthony Bartee should now be given the chance to have his claim heard under the proper standard.

 

A Model Prisoner and Commitment to Service

Additional factors should be taken into consideration in the case of Anthony Bartee, namely, his behavior as a model prisoner while on death row, along with his family’s commitment to serving our country through various branches of the Armed Services.  As his prison disciplinary records reveal, if his sentence were commuted to life in prison, he would not be a danger to any prisoner or guard.

 

Since he began his time on death row on September 9, 1998, Bartee has been at level one, the best disciplinary level possible. He has only been cited for two disciplinary infractions, neither of which were violent, throughout his entire 13 years on death row.

Bartee was raised in a family devoted to serving our great nation. Bartee’s father served our country in the Air Force for 26 years and his grandfather served in the Army in Germany during World War II. Bartee himself received an honorable discharge from the Army on July 12, 1976.

Bartee has also long sought to teach others to learn from his mistakes. During time spent in prison for an earlier conviction, Bartee was chosen as one of two “model prisoners” to speak to a group of troubled students from the local town. These students were greatly influenced by his comments, and it has been reported that many of them ceased participating in gang activity after their visit with Bartee.

Please call on the Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute the sentence of Anthony Bartee or, at a minimum, grant a 120-day reprieve so that his claim regarding the conflict of interest can be pursued under the proper standard and DNA testing can be conducted and fully analyzed.

Contact information for Governor Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles:


Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Fax: 512-463-1849
Main number: 512-463-2000

Salutation: Dear Governor Perry
Clemency Section
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
8610 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Austin, TX  78757-6814
Fax (512) 467-0945
bpp-pio@tdcj.state.tx.us
Salutation: Dear Board Members

 

 

Letters/faxes to the Board must clearly reference “ATTENTION CASE Anthony Bartee #999282” and should arrive no later than April 27, 2012.

 

 

11 Responses to “New Execution Date Set for Anthony Bartee, DNA Testing Still Not Completed”

  1. John Manahan 11 April 2012 at 9:31 pm Permalink

    It makes absolutely no sense [NONSENCE] to execute Anthony Bartee until all the evidence in this case, including DNA, has been carefuly examined. It’s impossible for me to fathom how anyone can proceed when a man is in danger of an execution that is irrevocable. It is not christian. It is not humane.
    (Rev.) John Manahan S. M.

    • SM 28 April 2012 at 3:23 pm Permalink

      This guy should have never been allowed out on parole being since he had 2 aggravated rape charges totaling 43 years.
      He being let out of prison in the first place was nonsense.

  2. joanne groshardt 11 April 2012 at 11:33 pm Permalink

    test for DNA first you idiots!!!

  3. Mary H. Gonzales 13 April 2012 at 10:46 pm Permalink

    One would think that doing the right thing would matter especially since we have the means (DNA testint)to prove innocent or guilty. God forbid that any of us would be in Anthony Bartee’s place-we would want the same chance especially if we are innocent! Please, do the right thing!

  4. Mary H. Gonzales 13 April 2012 at 10:48 pm Permalink

    One would think that doing the right thing would matter especially since we have the means (DNA testing)to prove innocent or guilty. God forbid that any of us would be in Anthony Bartee’s place-we would want the same chance especially if we are innocent! Please, do the right thing!

  5. maryam 14 April 2012 at 1:14 pm Permalink

    Please…have mercy….We’re entitled to at least a mistake in our life,,,Bartee may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, though im not entirely saying he is not a felon..but what if he really is innocent and the state of texas kills him?? mercy pls..

  6. Lee 25 April 2012 at 9:13 pm Permalink

    What a one sided story. Why would this author leave out the other facts in this case. Anthony Bartee was a convicted rapists and had charges of previous assaults and was out on parole at the time of the murder. He was found with the victims motorcycle and was arrested with it. He fled to Corpus after the murder – why run if innocent. There are witnesses that stated he was trying to hire them to help kill a man named David for his motorcycle – what was he found with? The motorcycle. The writer of this should have given all the details – this is not a model citizen and oh by the way there was physical evidence showing that Anthony Bartee was in the home of David Cook and oh by the way this was not a friend of David. David was beaten, shot, stabbed and then had his throat slit after he was already dead. David was the only son of his family and his father served in the military too. You didnt see David going around and murdering, raping and hitting people. You should have both sides of the story before passing judgement and making statements. This man had his time in court and was found guilty. he is far from a model citizen. Shame on the author for making this monster seem like the victim. David just got murdered all over again. This man was given chance after chance to change and didn’t.

    • Summer 1 May 2012 at 12:29 pm Permalink

      The point of this forum is not to decide the guilt or innocence of the person the State is putting to death. The point is to comment on the correctness of the Death Penalty itself. No matter how many people the condemned person killed, that doesn’t give the State the right to kill that person. Two wrongs don’t make a right. That is not Justice. That is Revenge! Killing is wrong, no matter who does it. Find another way for Justice to be served, i.e. Life in prison so the person can sit in a cell and think about what he’s done.

  7. M. Ro. 30 April 2012 at 9:32 am Permalink

    Does anybody know anything about actual Anthony’s family/friend/relatives?
    I would need to contact one of them. Thanks.

  8. Ramona 2 May 2012 at 3:26 am Permalink

    Wow how you kill a man and not know everything? That is just wrong as wrong can be. Do the lab work before you kill this poor man, then find out that you was wrong for taking his life. Once you take a life you can not give it back or say”oops my bus”.