Archive | execution

17 April 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Carries Out Third Execution in Three Weeks

Last night, April 16, 2014, the State of Texas carried out its third execution in three weeks, putting Jose Luis Villegas, Jr. to death for the murders of three people – his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Erida Perez Salazar, her 3-year-old son, Jacob Salazar, and her 51-year-old mother, Alma Perez – in 2001 in Corpus Christi. He reportedly then stole from the family to buy drugs.

According to the AP’s account of the execution, which appeared in the Houston Chronicle and other media outlets, “just as the dose of pentobarbital began taking effect, he [Villegas] said, ‘It does kind of burn. Goodbye.’ He gasped several times, then began breathing quietly. Within less than a minute, all movement had stopped.”

Villegas was the third Texas inmate put to death with a new supply of the drug pentobarbital, which the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) obtained in March.  TDCJ has refused to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that supplied the drug.

Read more about the case from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the Austin Chronicle.

The next execution in Texas is scheduled to take place on May 13, 2014.

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10 April 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Ramiro Hernandez Llanas

On April 9, 2014, the State of Texas executed Ramiro Hernandez Llanas for the 1997 murder of his employer, Kerr County ranch owner Glen Lich, and sexual assault of Lich’s wife in 1997.  It was the sixth execution to take place in Texas this year and the second involving a Mexican national.

The Government of Mexico strongly condemned Hernandez Llanas’ execution, arguing that it took place in violation of an International Court of Justice ruling from 2004.  That case found that Texas and other states had not advised some 50 Mexican nationals on death row of their right to contact their consular offices upon arrest.  That right is stipulated by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which the United States is a party.

Hernandez Llanas was the second person to be executed with a new supply of pentobarbital obtained secretly by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Texas accounts for 6 of the 16 executions carried out to date.

Read more from Fox News Latino.

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09 April 2014 ~ Comments Off

Sixth Texas Execution of the Year Scheduled to Take Place Tonight

The execution of Ramiro Hernandez Llanas is likely to take place as scheduled tonight, April 9, 2014.  On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied his petition for clemency, while the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice does not have to reveal the source of its new supply of pentobarbital, the drug used in the lethal injection process.  According to the Associated Press, attorneys for Hernandez Llanas do not plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, as the Justices rejected similar arguments in the case of Tommy Lynn Sells last week and allowed his execution to proceed despite concerns about the drug used to kill him.

Hernandez Llanas was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering his employer, Kerr County ranch owner Glen Lich, and sexually assaulting Lich’s wife in 1997. A Mexican national, Hernandez Llanas grew up next to a garbage dump, where his family collected and sold trash to survive. His trial, which was moved to Bandera County, lasted two days; the jury took five minutes to convict him. According to Amnesty International, his low IQ scores and evidence of his adaptive functioning deficits have been rejected by the courts, despite a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibits the death penalty for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  The prosecution’s expert, who had never met Hernandez Llanas, asserted that his “adaptive behavior is in keeping with his cultural group.”

Read more about this case and about the victim, Glen Lich, from the San Antonio Express-News.

 

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04 April 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Tommy Lynn Sells After High Court Refuses to Intervene

The State of Texas carried out the execution of Tommy Lynn Sells this evening, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his last appeal.  Sells  was convicted of killing thirteen-year-old Kaylene Harris in an attack on her and a friend at a home near Del Rio in Val Verde County in 1999.  Eleven-year-old Krystal Surles survived and testified against him.

According to the Houston Chronicle:

The execution came despite last-minute litigation by attorneys for Sells and another death row inmate seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court intervene because Texas prison officials have refused to disclose details about a new batch of lethal drugs.

The high court sent word that it would not stop the execution about an hour before it was scheduled to begin.

It was the fifth execution to take place in Texas this year, out of 14 nationwide.

Previous posts about the latest developments with the lethal injection protocol are available here and here.

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02 April 2014 ~ Comments Off

TCADP April Alert: Executions Continue in Texas with New Drug Supply, More Secrecy

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
Death Penalty Developments
Featured Events
Calendar and Volunteer Opportunities

Executions
The State of Texas is scheduled to carry out three executions this month, using a newly obtained supply of pentobarbital. Late last week, a state judge ordered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to disclose the source of the new drug supply, rejecting arguments that such information should be kept secret because of “security concerns.” On Friday, however, the Texas Supreme Court blocked the judge’s order and stopped the release of information to attorneys for two inmates scheduled for execution in April. Further litigation and appeals are pending.

  • On April 3, Tommy Lynn Sells is scheduled to be put to death for attacking two young girls at a home near Del Rio in Val Verde County in 1999.  Thirteen-year-old Kaylene Harris, was killed; her 11-year-old friend, Krystal Surles, survived and testified against him. Sells is the only person convicted in Val Verde County on death row.
  •  Ramiro Hernandez Llanas is scheduled to be executed on April 9 for murdering his employer, Kerr County ranch owner Glen Lich, and sexually assaulting Lich’s wife in 1997. Hernandez Llanas is a Mexican national who grew up next to a garbage dump, where his family collected and sold trash to survive. His trial, which was moved to Bandera County, lasted two days; the jury took five minutes to convict him. According to Amnesty International, his low IQ scores and evidence of his adaptive functioning deficits have been rejected by the courts, despite a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibits the death penalty for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  The prosecution’s expert, who had never met Hernandez Llanas, asserted that his “adaptive behavior is in keeping with his cultural group.”  Read more from Amnesty International and take action today.
  • On April 16, Jose Luis Villegas, Jr. is scheduled to be executed for stabbing to death three people – his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Erida Perez Salazar, her 3-year-old son, Jacob Salazar, and her 51-year-old mother, Alma Perez – in 2001 in Corpus Christi. He reportedly then stole from the family to buy drugs.

Stay tuned to TCADP for further developments on these cases and the lethal injection lawsuit. For a comprehensive look at the status of lethal injection challenges in other states, check out this article from USA Today.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the day of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter.

Recent Death Penalty Developments
Amnesty International releases annual report on worldwide executions.140 Countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
Amnesty’s report highlights that Iran and Iraq caused a sharp global spike in the number of executions carried out in 2013, bucking the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty.

The USA was once again the only country to carry out executions in the Americas, although four fewer people (39) were put to death in 2013 compared with 2012. The state of Texas accounted for 41% of all executions. Meanwhile, Maryland became the 18th US state to abolish the death penalty. Several Greater Caribbean states reported empty death rows for the first time since Amnesty International began keeping records in 1980.

Despite the increase in executions in 2013, there has been a steady decline in the number of countries using the death penalty over the last 20 years, and there was progress in all regions last year.

Many countries who executed in 2012 did not implement any death sentences in 2013, including Gambia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, where authorities again suspended the use of the death penalty. Belarus also refrained from executions, meaning Europe and Central Asia were execution-free for the first time since 2009.

Twenty years ago, 37 countries actively implemented the death penalty. This number fell to 25 by 2004 and was at 22 last year. Only nine countries have carried out executions every year for the past five years.
More information and the full report can be found at the link.

Featured Events

“The Last 40 Miles” at Dallas International Film Festival
“The Last 40 Miles”, an innovative and compelling animated short film, will be shown during the Dallas International Film Festival.
  • Monday, April 7, 7:00 PM at the Angelika Film Center (5321 E Mockingbird Ln #230, Dallas)
  • Tuesday, April 8, 9:30 PM at the Angelika Film Center

In the film, Raymond, a condemned man, takes his last journey from his solitary cell on death row in Livingston to the execution chamber 40 miles away in Huntsville, Texas. During the journey – his third such trip to the death house – his memories, the unexpected warmth of the guard escorting him, and his ever-present hope keep him company. Watch the trailer here.

Buy tickets for one of the screenings here (tickets are $12 and can be picked up on site). The film will be shown as part of the Animated Shorts Competition. Please let us know if you attend a screening and what you think of the film. Invite your friends and family members to go with you! Visit http://diff2014.dallasfilm.org to learn more about the festival.

“Trial of Jesus” to be held at Manchaca United Methodist Church, Sunday, April 13 at 2:00pm.
In this powerful presentation, two Christian attorneys, Mark Osler and Jeanne Bishop, stage a mock death penalty trial of Jesus based on current Texas law. The unscripted courtroom drama features legal arguments and live witnesses testifying about whether Jesus should live or die. A judge presides and the audience is the jury.

Mark Osler is the author of Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment. A former federal prosecutor, he teaches criminal law and sentencing at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.

Jeanne Bishop is a felony trial attorney with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender in Chicago and an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at Northwestern University School of Law. She is also the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was murdered with her husband and their unborn child in 1990.

All are welcome.  For More Information call: 512-282-7274 www.ManchacaUMC.org  Download Flyer to Share.

Houston TCADP meeting features Dana Lynn Recer of GRACE
All Houston area supporters are invited to an evening meeting to be held Thursday, April 24 at Freed Montrose Library, 4100 Montrose, Houston, 6:00-8:00pm.  Dana Lynn Recer of the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE) will speak about death penalty trials and the work of GRACE. Download Flyer to Share.

Calendar and Volunteer Opportunities

April

3 Scheduled execution – Tommy Sells, 6:00pm. NEW Vigil on days of Executions – 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, in front of the El Paso County Courthouse, 500 E. San Antonio, El Paso (downtown, on San Antonio, between Mesa and Campbell Streets)
5 TCADP information table at the Texas Junior State of America convention, Houston
7-8 “The Last 40 Miles” film showing at Angelika Theater in Dallas
9 Scheduled execution – Ramiro Hernandez, 6:00pm Act Now!
12 Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty information table at Young Americans for Liberty Texas Convention, Texas State University 9:00am-7:00pm.  *Volunteers needed to assist with table, please contact info@tcadp.org.
13 “Trial of Jesus” at Manchaca UMC, 2:00pm (Palm Sunday)
16 Scheduled execution – Jose Villegas, 6:00pm
24 Houston TCADP meeting at Freed Montrose Library, 4100 Montrose, Houston, 6:00-8:00pm.
29 El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty meeting at 7:00pm in the Mother Teresa Room of St. Pius X Catholic Church, 1050 N Clark St, El Paso.  elpaso@tcadp.org

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the day of executions.

*For more information about these events or to volunteer to staff a table at an outreach event, email info@tcadp.org.

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

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31 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Anthony Doyle; Judge Orders TDCJ to Disclose Source of New Drug Supply

On March 27, 2014, the State of Texas carried out its fourth execution of the year, putting Anthony Doyle to death for the murder of 37-year-old Hyun Mi Cho in January 2003.   The victim was delivering food to Doyle’s family home in Rowlett (Dallas County) when he demanded money from her and then hit her with a baseball bat. He then hid her body and stole her phone, credit cards, and car.

Anthony Doyle was 93 days past his 18th birthday at the time of the crime.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment for juvenile offenders – those under the age of 18 at the time of the crime.

On the day of Doyle’s execution, a state judge ordered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to disclose the source of its new supply of pentobarbital, which is the sole drug now used in the lethal injection process in Texas.  Citing “security concerns,” officials with TDCJ had refused to name the source of the drug that will  be used to execute inmates as of April 1st.  Three executions are scheduled to take place in Texas in April.

Dallas County accounts for 53 executions since 1982, behind only Harris County.  It accounts for 20% of new death sentences imposed in the last six years.

Read more about Anthony Doyle and the latest developments regarding the lethal injection drug supply from Fox News and Reuters.

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20 March 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Ray Jasper; TDCJ Obtains New, Secret Supply of Lethal Drug

The State of Texas executed Ray Jasper last night, March 19, 2014, for the 1998 robbery and murder of recording studio owner David Alejandro in San Antonio. Jasper was 18 years old at the time of the crime.  His two co-defendants, both age 19 at the time of the crime, avoided the death penalty and received sentences of life in prison. If Jasper had been three months younger, he would not have been eligible for the death penalty – in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional for juvenile offenders under age 18 (Roper v. Simmons).

In his final appeals, Jasper’s attorneys argued that prosecutors struck potential African American jurors on racially discriminatory grounds.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, “No one from Jasper’s family was in Huntsville Wednesday to witness the execution. No one from the Alejandro family, who are against the death penalty, attended either — instead opting to spend the evening together in San Antonio.”

Jasper was the third person put to death in Texas this year; eleven executions have been carried out nationwide in 2014.  Bexar County, which accounts for the third highest number of individuals sentenced to death in Texas (75), now accounts for 38 executions.  Sixteen individuals remain on death row from Bexar County – the county has not imposed any new death sentences since 2009.

Read more about Jasper’s case from CBSNews.

Also yesterday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) disclosed that it has obtained a new supply of pentobarbital, the single drug now used in the lethal injection process in Texas.  TDCJ refused to name the source of the new supply, citing security concerns.   Read more about this latest development from the Associated Press.

At this time, five inmates are scheduled to be executed in Texas.

 

 

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06 February 2014 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Suzanne Basso

On the same day that an El Paso County jury rejected the death penalty in the capital murder trial of Christian Martinez, the State of Texas carried out its second execution of the year, putting Suzanne Basso to death  for the 1998 murder of Louis “Buddy” Musso.  Basso was convicted in 1999 in Harris County.  Prosecutors accused her of luring Musso, an intellectually disabled man,  to Texas after meeting Basso and her son, J.D. O’Malley in  New Jersey.  Five co-defendants, including O’Malley, were convicted of playing a role in the murder.

Attorneys for Suzanne Basso failed to present any mitigating evidence during the penalty phase of her trial and conducted virtually no investigation into her background. Had they done so, they would have uncovered pervasive evidence of her impoverished and abusive childhood, including sexual abuse at the hands of relatives.  The jury also did not hear about Basso’s long history of delusional thinking and mental illness.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review issues presented in a final death-day appeal (“Woman executed for 1998 murder of mentally handicapped man,” February 5, 2014).  That appeal asked the Court to review the constitutionality of Texas’ statute regarding competency to be executed.

Basso was the fifth woman to be executed in Texas since 1982 and the 14th nationwide.  There currently are seven women on death row in Texas.  You can read more about her case from the Guardian.

Seven executions have taken place to date in the United States this year.

 

 

 

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