Archive | execution

17 February 2016 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes Gustavo Garcia

State of Texas executes Gustavo Garcia

Last night, February 16, 2016, the State of Texas put Gustavo Garcia to death for the robbery and murder of Craig Turski in Plano (Collin County) in 1990. Garcia, who was 18 years old at the time of the crime, spent more than 24 years on death row.  According to the Texas Tribune, his only personal witness was his spiritual advisor.  From the Tribune:

Garcia received a new sentencing hearing in 2000 after then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn discovered that psychologist Walter Quijano, who testified at Garcia’s original sentencing trial, had claimed in testimony that Hispanics were more likely to pose a future danger to society, according to court documents. Quijano said he came to that belief because Hispanics were overrepresented in the prison population.

Read more from the Texas Tribune.

Garcia was the third person to be executed in Texas in 2016.  Three executions are scheduled to take place next month.

 

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16 February 2016 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas scheduled to execute Gustavo Garcia

State of Texas scheduled to execute Gustavo Garcia

Tonight the State of Texas is scheduled to put Gustavo Garcia to death for the robbery and murder of Craig Turski in Plano (Collin County) in 1990. Garcia was 18 at the time of the crime.  His 15-year-old co-defendant, Christopher Vargas, was sentenced to life.

On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Garcia’s appeal and last week, Justice Antonin Scalia denied his petition for rehearing. Read more than 25 years of coverage of the case from the Dallas Morning News.

If it proceeds, Garcia’s execution will be the third in Texas this year and the sixth in the United States.  At this time, nine additional executions are scheduled to take place in Texas over the next five months.

Read more from the Texas Tribune and Dallas Morning News.

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28 January 2016 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes James Freeman

State of Texas executes James Freeman

Last night, January 27,  the State of Texas executed James Freeman for the murder of Game Warden Justin Hurst after a police chase in 2007 in Wharton County. His 2008 trial was the first death penalty case in Wharton since 1979 and he was the first person from the county to be executed.

Freeman’s lawyers argued that their client did not have a history of violence and did not pose a “future danger”, the first issue jurors in Texas capital murder trials must answer when considering whether to impose the death penalty.

According to the Texas Tribune, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review his case on January 11 and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected his petition for clemency earlier in the week.

Freeman was the second person to be executed in Texas this year.  A total of four executions have taken place in the United States in 2016.

At this time, there are eight executions scheduled to take place in Texas through July 2016.

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21 January 2016 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes Richard Masterson

State of Texas executes Richard Masterson

The State of Texas carried out its first execution of the year last night, putting Richard Masterson to death by lethal injection for the 2001 murder of Darin Honeycutt in Houston.

According to the Texas Tribune, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court both denied last-minute requests for stays of execution.  One of those appeals challenged the constitutionality of a new Texas law that protects the identity of any person or entity providing the drugs used in lethal injections.  The law was passed by the 84th Texas Legislature and went into effect on September 1, 2015.

Other appeals challenged the testimony of medical examiner, Paul Shrode, who conducted an autopsy of Mr. Honeycutt and declared his cause of death to be strangulation.  Attorney Gregory Gardner argued that Honeycutt died of a heart attack.

From the Tribune:

In the same year as Honeycutt’s death, Shrode was written up by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office for wrongly determining a cause of death. In 2010, he was fired from his position as El Paso County chief medical examiner after a death row inmate in Ohio was granted clemency due to issues related to Shrode’s testimony in the case.

These incidents and the fact that the state did not reveal them to Masterson, Gardner argued, was cause for a stay and hearing. The request was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon, allowing the execution to move forward.

Pope Francis was following this case and expressed his sorrow upon learning of Masterson’s execution.

At this time, eight additional executions are scheduled to take place in Texas through July. On January 27, James Freeman is scheduled to be put to death for the murder of Game Warden Justin Hurst after a police chase in 2007 in Wharton County. His 2008 trial was the first death penalty case in Wharton since 1979.

 

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19 November 2015 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes Raphael Holiday

State of Texas executes Raphael Holiday

Last night, November 18, the State of Texas carried out its last execution of the year, putting Raphael Holiday to death for the arson murders of three young children in 2000 in Madison County: Tierra Lynch, 7, Jasmine DuPaul, 5, and 18-month-old Justice Holiday, his daughter.

Earlier in the day, Madison County State District Judge Hal Ridley granted a motion from Holiday’s original trial lawyers and halted the execution in order to give attorneys more time to pursue additional appeals and seek clemency.  Special prosecutors in the Texas Attorney General’s Office then asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reinstate the date.  The court overturned Judge Ridley’s ruling and ordered Holiday’s execution to proceed.

Holiday’s appointed attorneys essentially abandoned him in the months before his execution, telling  him there was nothing else they could do to help him after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeal.  Despite their client’s wishes, they refused to file a petition for clemency with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Learn more about the case from Brandi Grissom with the Dallas Morning News.

An earlier post about Raphael Holiday is available here.

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The State of Texas executed 13 people this year, accounting for half of the executions in the United States in 2015.  Five executions are currently scheduled to take place in the early months of 2016.

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16 October 2015 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes Licho Escamilla

State of Texas executes Licho Escamilla

On October 14, 2015, the State of Texas carried out its 12th execution of the year, putting Licho Escamilla to death for the 2001 murder of police officer Christopher Kevin James.  Officer James was working off-duty security at a Dallas nightclub when a fight broke out in the parking lot.  According to the Dallas Morning News, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected Escamilla’s argument that his trial attorneys did not provide evidence of his abusive childhood, ruling that the crime evidence outweighed any mitigating evidence not presented to jurors. Escamilla was 19 years old at the time of the shooting. Read more from WFAA.

This was the first execution scheduled out of Dallas County this year.  Dallas County accounts for 55 executions in Texas; it has not sentenced anyone to death for the last two years, however.

Texas accounts for half of the 24 executions carried out nationwide to date in 2015.  The final execution of the year is scheduled to take place on November 18; Raphael Holiday is scheduled to be put to death for the 2000 arson murders of three children. Four executions have already been scheduled for the early months of 2016.

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06 October 2015 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes Juan Garcia; 125th execution out of Harris County

State of Texas executes Juan Garcia; 125th execution out of Harris County

Earlier this evening, October 6, 2015, the State of Texas carried out its 11th execution of the year, putting Juan Garcia to death for the 1998 robbery and murder of Hugo Solano in Harris County.  Joined by three accomplices, Garcia was 18 years old at the time of the crime.  Mr. Solano’s widow testified during the penalty phase of the trial that she forgave Garcia and did not support a death sentence.

According to NBC News, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Garcia’s clemency bid in a 5-2 vote last week.

Texas accounts for nearly half of the 23 executions that have taken place in the United States to date this year.  Three additional executions are scheduled to occur by the end of 2015.  Harris County now accounts for 125 executions, more than any other state (except Texas as a whole).

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19 June 2015 ~ Comments Off on State of Texas executes Gregory Russeau

State of Texas executes Gregory Russeau

On June 18th, the State of Texas carried out its ninth execution of the year, putting Gregory Russeau to death for the robbery and murder of 75-year-old mechanic James Syvertson at his Tyler auto-repair shop in 2001.

Read more from NBC News.

Texas accounts for 9 of the 17 executions nationwide to date in 2015.  At this time, Missouri is the only other state scheduled to carry out executions; it accounts for four excutions this year.  At least five more executions are scheduled to take place in Texas in the coming months.

Earlier in the day, a Nueces County jury rejected the death penalty for Daniel Garcia, who was convicted of capital murder in the robbery and death of convenience store owner Mostafa “Ben” Bighamian Corpus Christi in 2014.  Garcia has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  The jury reportedly deliberated for about two hours.

Watch a news clip about the case from KZTV10.

It was the second time this year that a Nueces County jury rejected the death penalty in a capital murder case and the third jury rejection of the death penalty this year.  No new death sentences have been imposed to date in Texas this year.  Eric Williams was the last person sentenced to death in the state – on December 17, 2014.

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